I Knew Death Dwarf
From across the table I see Death Dwarf’s eyes narrow then widen. The smile never changes, never disappears. Lights my cigarette. Suggests Bourbon without ice. Never wants to talk about my day, my work, my friends. Only mutual urgencies.
I’m walking to forget. I’m walking to calm down. I’m alert to only the sunny weather and my immediate path. Death Dwarf taps my shoulder. “I saw you from over there and had to say hello. If you are outside you must be sick of solitude.” I either comply and chat or argue the virtues and privileges of freedom of choice.
Sometimes there are accidents and emergencies. Death Dwarf puts it on the line. Advertises need and the opportunities to help. Appeals directly to the Samaritan tendencies. But Death Dwarf is only saved by luck. I share the suffering and by the end of the cycle I’m suffocated by gratitude.
Death Dwarf sprays perfume. Scars my face with lipstick. Fills my nose with cocaine. I allow caresses—the static is louder than the melody and food is cooking on the stove—then I realize I am on my knees, panting, shivering with sweat, ready to submit.
Sometimes I am bored, fed up, helpless with unexpected angst. How convenient, Death Dwarf is grinning at my door. Ready to change the channels and pick the next show. Brings me candy and potato chips; sugary liquor on shaved ice. That life is lousy no logic can deny. But indulgence eases away anxiety and I soon ignore all that needs to be resolved.
*I Knew Death Dwarf by Timothy Herrick first appeared in I Is Another (Selected Prose Poems) by Timothy Herrick, Wild Strawberry Press, 1992