Avatar Review

Gerard Sarnat


Last night's post funeral and ingathering bad dreams
(too much lox and bagel, too many leftover brownies?)
seem to have confused what I recently saw at the gym
with what I wouldn't let myself think through yesterday.

The shock watching a clean-cut young stud in black rubber
("WBO Champ Bad Man" stitched red and white in front),
worked out hard by two brown, tattooed, crew cut handlers
-- first heavy bag, then light gloves, finally treadmill,
heart rate 205 (I sneaked a peek) making my 150 tortoise-like,
7% body fat measurement leaving my 19% torso in the dust,
looks 'bout my 5'6" yet bet his body mass index's way lower
-- they flash by me fast, sidemen shouting, "Rapido, rapido!"
as they strip off sweat suits, leaving only boxer shorts,
while their exhausted meal ticket adds a second layer of pants
before entering the sauna to sweat off those last few pounds
(leaving the muscle) preceding tomorrow's
Olympic weigh-in for the biggest night of his life;

or so I imagined

merges with awe, day after day bedside in her LA house,
watching my ninety-nine year-old mother-in-law survive
second to second, somehow hanging in
-- no water, no food for almost a month,
all skin and bones, valiantly hanging on,
at first a jock no less than the boxer, at the end
more resembling Bergen Belsen horror of horrors

We wake before daylight to an eerily empty house,
decrepit as its dead mistress, now curiously
stripped of everything except a cupboard full
of past birth and mothers' day glass vases --
which along with the matriarch's name pass on
to Bubbe's only child, my wife; when the door bell
suddenly strangely rings three times (pushy?):
a fatted, ragpicking vulture claiming to be a neighbor
makes an apparently most generous preemptive bid
for the family property (Not a teardown to me; I plan on
preserving the original mid-century charm. And I'll also
leave a card; I'd be glad to represent you at any estate sale.).

Stomach growling, the laptop and snail mailboxes
are chocked with condolences, offers to plan the Shiva
when we return home (hopefully soon) -- the mourning,
the wake, who will bring appetizers, who will bring cake?

Home copyright © 2008 Avatar Review
All rights reserved to the author.