May 212013

I never speak of my ability to see patients’ secret selves
except with my Unit Director, “Fez”
when after work we go to the Rail
down the hill
in the middle of a knot of decrepit brick buildings
clustered around the railroad tracks
the old center of this puny Southern town

We sit at the bar and watch the beer sign’s blue waterfall
eternally arcing down
perpetually renewing itself
and after enough drinks my tongue becomes loose and
I begin to babble

You’ve developed X-ray vision, huh? Fez says.
A few shots of Wild Turkey and you Viet vets invariably get weird

Fez has this thing—he pretends that I’m a Vietnam vet
which offends me—
it dishonors the boys who did go to Nam
with all its ugly violence.

But Fez persists, despite my protests:
I ought to fire your ass, Ribinthal–
you’re as nuts as any two of our patients
You’re the biggest looney in the bin

Nuttier than a schizophrenic?

Damn straight.

But he won’t fire me
My job is safe
if only because of the hiring freeze
which is as entrenched as the Arctic

Indian Review | Author Profile | Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in over eighty literary magazines, most recently The Examined Life, Memoir Journal, Out of Our, and Turbulence (England). His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

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