Afternoon Memory.

IMG_20130123_162840Afternoon Memory
By Gary Soto

Sometimes I’ll look in the refrigerator
And decide that the mustard is
Vaguely familiar,
And that the jar of Spanish olives is new to me.
This gathering? The butter
And salsa, the two kinds of tortillas
And, in
Back, the fat-waisted Mrs. Butterworth.
I’ll study the plate of cross-legged

And close the refrigerator and lean on the kitchen counter.

Is this old age? The faucet drips.
The linoleum blisters when you walk on
The magnets on the refrigerator crawl down
With the gravity of expired
Coupons and doctor bills.
Sometimes I’ll roll my tongue in my mouth.
This thirst or desire? Is this pain
Or my foot going to sleep? I know the
Inside my stomach has gone quiet.
My hair falls as I stand. My
Lungs are bean plants
Of disappearing air. My body sends signals, like
A healthy fleck is floating across my vision.
I watch it cross. It’s
Going to attack a virus
On the right side of my body
And, later, travel
Down my throat to take care of knee,
Little latch of hurt. I swallow three
I have to help my body parts. Fellas, sour liver
And trusty kidney,
I’m full of hope.
I open the refrigerator.
I’ve seen this stuff before.
What’s this?
The blow dart of bran? Chinese ginger?
No, fellas, they’re
Carrots. The orange, I hear,
Is good for your eyes.


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