man in a wheelchair in front of the va hospital

gayle was a brick tender
his entire
working life.

at forty-five
he took a night class
in sociology
at drake.

sometimes after class
he'd drink irish whiskey
with the professor
at Flanagan's.

one night
the professor was shit-faced
he hit on the girlfriend
of drake's middle linebacker.

gayle stepped in
broke the kid's jaw
spent a week in jail.

the professor
is now an esteemed lecturer
at an ivy league university.

he's written an autobiography
and there is gayle
on page 122.

only the sum-bitch
calls me randy
and says he saved my ass
with some slick words,
gayle says
as i light his cigarette for him.

but i'll give him that
seein' as i took thirty
maybe forty
good pulls
on his wife.