The specialist looked me over,
pointed his finger and said Look,
you’ve passed the tipping point
there’s nothing anyone can do,
sorry. I left, saw everything
through that lens—a hooked, flopping
fish, unable to breathe, soon slit open;
a yellowjacket drowning in a pool,
stinger looking for anything to blame.
Why hadn’t he mentioned tipping point
before now? I felt compelled to return
to his office, grab the sharp yellow
number 2 pencil on his desk,
and ram it through his pointy hand.
There’s your tipping point. Cancelled
my follow-up, called a palm-reader.
Flounder for dinner.
Duplex for cutting strings
this old playground slide steers my mind to childhood and breaks in the past
when I didn’t have a strong grasp on what seemed a safe path
I remind myself a strong grasp on a safe path can be an illusion…
my boyhood friend who said, hold the sides, it’s a soft landing
and he pushed me before I could hold the sides to a soft landing
the sledgehammer of his weight followed and broke me at the bottom
at the bottom under his weight, my broken leg, his sledgehammer laugh
and as an adult he still laughed as he handed the newbie another martini
he enjoyed getting me martini-drunk, and laughed about getting me sick
my friends aren’t lightweights, and then sent me home, in my car
I’m the lightweight friend who drove home drunk in my car
and a patrolman saw me swerving, he knew my dad, gave me a break
a friend of dads who saw me swerving and said, find new friends
this backyard slide steers my mind to the breaks I’ve had in my past
Richard L. Matta grew up in New York’s rustic Hudson Valley, attended Notre Dame, and now lives in San Diego with his golden-doodle dog. When not catering to the dog or spending time by the Bay, he writes. Some of his work is found in Ancient Paths, Dewdrop, New Verse News, and Healing Muse.