The Paramedic Was a Drummer

Two hands are pounding on a heart.
Frustrated drummer beating the
pig-skin of life,
anything for a song.
Blood leaps up onto his skin,
a path well-traveled.
The boy moans half a dozen words
of Spanish, probably, "Don't let me die",
or, just as easily, its opposite.
He remembers the club
and his kit stacked up behind
those other bastards,
keeping it going
while their crass stage antics
flaunted its pulling apart.
This is what he figured.
Eventually, he would be the only
one left doing something.
The driver curses the thick traffic.
The boy's words barely reach his lips,
stumble back into his mouth.
Paramedic has the song where he wants it,
melody fallen off the face of the earth,
sound pared down to backbeat,
all voices stopping a stray bullet
except this one chanting,
"Just hold on, buddy boy,
just hold on,"
in perfect tempo.

That Seventh Piece

One slice of cake left 
on the plate,
center table.
One piece of soft, moist
angel cake,
towering over a scattering
of crumbs.
And six of us,
sated with sugar,
but eyeing it hungrily.
Did my father miscount?
Slicing the cake
with us in his head
did he add an extra brother,
a sister, a friend from next door?
The seventh stands alone.
Is it for the dead sibling,
or even the live one,
we do not know about?
Is it part of old English folk-lore
to always leave one over
for the elves, for the gypsies.
Seven chambers in his heart, I wonder.
Seven thoughts, in his head.
The extra we can never know about,
the mystery we would never know existed
but for the miscalculation of his knife.
Realizing his mistake,
he slices the seventh piece in six,
hands us all a mouthful.
Then he smiles, relief and pleasure,
like everything is under control,
like his smug lips is where
each seventh piece of him
is so hastily trapped and swallowed.

Copyright 2003 John Grey