Two Poems by j. lewis






new chairs

i didn’t expect white
but i knew black was out
maybe natural wood

anything to replace
the worn out and breaking
cane-bottomed kitchen chairs

chairs that had lasted
far beyond expectation
holding on, like me. holding on

when she found new chairs
online, of course, she said
these are the ones, but

you will have to assemble them
and i thought to myself
i’ve put so many things together

what’s four more chairs
prefab and requiring only a
screwdriver and included wrench

done in no time, and the old chairs,
faithful to the end, were cut apart
to fit the garbage can

no funeral, no eulogy, and almost
no regret, except for a twinge
as i sawed through the last leg

wondering what might become of me
when i am old past usefulness
but not ready to give in

check up

i tell him i had covid almost a year ago
he nods and says yes, it’s in my record

he asks what my concerns are, though that
is in the secure message i sent him days ago

we talk. or at least, i complain, he listens
easy fatigue, no stamina, vertigo, lack of focus

i thought he was listening, but he asks instead
about my depression and if the medication helps

yes, yes, i tell him, it works, but these symptoms
started long before the blues, so no. not that.

and then it starts. ekg, treadmill stress test
pulmonary function test, vials and vials of blood

every test, every sample, every result comes back
i’m in good shape for an old coot, and yet

the symptoms are still there. walk a block
in a mask and stop to huff, puff, and rest

climb one flight of stairs, pant for breath
nothing gets better, nothing gets easier

so what’s an old geezer to do when the check up says
i’m fine, but my body disagrees. what’s next?
what is coming next?

j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, nurse practitioner, and Editor of Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal and community. When he is not otherwise occupied, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California. He is the author of four full length collections and several chapbooks.

Image: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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