(This poem evolved from notes that I scribbled into the margin
of our Mexican Train score sheet while visiting my friend Gloria.)
The brownie that she serves me
crumbles when I try to break it in half.
Her sense of humor allows it and so I tease her.
“Gloria, this looks like the kind of food
my grandmother tried to pawn off on us—
weeks old and crusty from the refrigerator.”
“Those chocolate chips were like that when I bought them!”
she insists, even before I question their green tinge.
I think that this is even worse than the alternative,
and say so and we both laugh as she eats her brownie
and I reduce mine to dust. Not a hard task, as it turns out.
She’s had a bad infection for a week or more.
“I’m not contagious,” she insists each time she coughs
a long low rasping rumble that threatens to avalanche.
“Now stop!” she tells the sounds that explode
without permission from her chest.
“Perhaps,” I say, “These brownies are a godsend
and that’s penicillin growing on the chocolate chips.”
Then her deep coughs transform into
gasps of laughter that echo mine.
The young man there to rake the garden
looks up at us and shakes his head
at two old ladies drinking rum and
eating something chocolate,
and it occurs to me that perhaps
what the world sees as senility
is simply evolution
out of adulthood
to a higher
Are you feeling a sense of deja vu? This is a reblog of a piece I wrote four years ago. The WordPress prompt word today was infect.