Daniel Contracts Impetigo, Reconsiders His Life

1. Today, Daniel feels like an injured koi fish. Scratch that—Daniel feels like the pond that the koi fish are in. He feels like the scum that lines the sides of a man-made body of water. His body, something he’s handled like a used car for 27 years, is rejecting the treatments. It’s rejecting the antibiotics, the ointments & vitamins. His doctor says that the rash shouldn’t spread any more than it has. Non-factor, is what he calls it. Daniel looks in the mirror at the doctor’s office & sees porous craters. He imagines the face of the moon contracting impetigo & missing work for a week. The planet tilts off its axis & meteors shower the surface. Cities are destroyed. Thousands of workers are laid off or die. Daniel smiles & picks a scab near his upper lip.

 

2. Today, Daniel wears dirty sweatpants & watches a documentary on blue herons’ migration habits. Some British-sounding narrator claims the birds are “unpredictable.” He says they can choose to fly south, or simply stay put, that there’s no logic to their travel plans. It’s been years since Daniel’s visited any state outside of his own. He imagines golfing the back nine of a course with natural waterfalls & sand traps as deep as his stomach. He opens a bag of lime-flavored nachos & traces a golf ball in a bowl of salsa. It looks like a circle. Daniel eats the circle with a chip & sinks further into the stitching of his recliner.

 

3. Today, Daniel buys a new hat at a thrift shop. It droops over his forehead & he feels like an ancient emperor. He wears the hat to the grocers hoping people won’t see his face. An older man leaving the store with one crutch says Good day, & Daniel says Thank you. Inside, Daniel looks at different types of cheeses in the dairy section. He read somewhere online that whole milk can help with skin infections. He knows that cheese is not whole milk, but he figures it’s all the same. He sees a woman with a lazy eye stocking yogurt & asks which cheese she prefers. She looks at Daniel’s face & the cheeses at the same time. She says Asiago, & Daniel feels just a little bit better about his new hat.

 

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Dillon J. Welch is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in CutBank, inter|rupture, Jellyfish, Phantom Limb, Pinwheel and other journals. He is currently Editor of AMRI and Poetry Editor of Swarm.