Leaving that swinging small
coffee house art opening of a friend
with the party still roaring
I shift to uneven cobblestones
to avoid the nightly
taco stand set up on the sidewalk,
knowing I must be careful,
but pitching forward anyway,
face-down in the dark street.
still in thrall to the fall,
As I lie in the street,
a crowd gathers
like otters to survey
this new intruder to their world.
I can’t stand up.
Lie groaning in the dark.
They offer twenty hands to help me up,
but I need to lie a spectacle in the street.
Should they call an ambulance?
Can I not rise?
They ward off cars, enfolding me
in their curious and protective circle.
No way with any amount of help
can I push myself up from the street
on this pounding knee.
I become their Saturday night
At last, unable to bear the shock
of pressure on any part of either leg,
I scoot myself over on my bottom to the curb,
hoist myself up to sit on it,
and from there
my right leg can get contact with the street to push.
Two hands help me up and go around me
as I hobble the half block to my car.
Yes, I can drive.
But everything hurts.
“Muy Amable, Senor, y muchas gracias.”
At home, a straight-legged hobble down the stairs.
Neosporin on the skinned and swollen knee,
Rum and Coke, Advil, Reumofan
in that order.
Arnica and Peyote gel rubbed in sore parts.
The safety and warmth of bed.
and eight hours respite
until that long climb up the stairs
to the last day of my own art exhibition.
It is hard getting old in any country,
but in Mexico,
their own private Hell
that all gringos fall to,
sooner or later.
(The prompt was to tell about the last time someone was proud of you, but It’s hard to be proud in the dark on cobblestones in Mexico.)