Everybody’s got a story.
A history.
A grab-your-attention moment in the sun.
Not all stories are spoken
and tales of glory drift away;
comedies, tragedies, the everyman’s anthology of fables
yellow and crumble to the touch,
torn bits of discarded and weathered memories.

Ever hear the one about the old man in the ER?
Old man lying on a stretcher in the hallway of the ER-
true story-
one of the many homeless men that travel through the
hallways and units of this hospital,
carrying a Hamilton County Public Library card
in his pocket, $1.68 in change,
and years of bad luck or bad choices
in the lines of his face,
the filth in his pores, the look of surrender in his eyes.
One of the cocksure med students
says to him, “Hey…
Any words of advice for us as we start out?”
The student had to lean over and
bend closely to the old man’s face;
his breath coated with years of cigarettes
and God knows what else
as he weakly scratched out,
“I would have bought the red truck.”

Everydamnbody’s got a story.
Red trucks.
I still shake my head
wondering what that old man meant.

please note--art by Leroy Skalstad


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