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Every Third Sunday

By Tyler Bigney

I visit my grandfather
in the nursing home.
He doesn’t remember me,
calls me by the wrong name
and talks about Korea
as if I was there with him.
This is the third nursing home
for him in the past year.
The last two released him
for talking dirty to the nurses.
Every sponge bath
turned into a case of
sexual harassment.
My grandfather greeting nurses
with his pants down,
asking for a hand. And that’s
not even the worst of it.
I’ve read the reports. Received
late night phone calls threatening
that he’s being moved
first thing in the morning.
“He’s a dirty, dirty man,”
they scolded me though the phone,
as if I was the one
who put him up to it.
They left me with a warning
that if it were to happen again,
his next stop would be an institution,
and you know what that means.
I sit my grandfather down at lunch
and lay it all out, pleading for him
to stop with the dirty talk,
to keep his hands to himself,
to find a different way to channel
his sexual frustration.
“Frustration,” he laughs,
“You don’t know what that is.
Frustration is when they don’t let you
outside, too afraid the world
isn’t strong enough to witness
the sight of a dying man,
so they keep you locked
in here all day with the stale air,
and the men
who are no longer men,
who weep strapped
to their beds, screaming
for their mothers.
You think those trees
out front were planted?
No, they were uprooted
and hauled here
from some far away place
so no one could see
inside this mess.
My God boy,
these men fought Hitler,
and they’ve been reduced
to diapers. Yesterday I forgot
what day it was, and for a second
I was scared of Alzheimer’s
but I remembered
time was on my side,
and by time, I mean
not much of it. For the first time
in my life, I’m more scared
of living than dying.
So, yeah, maybe
I’ve only slept with
one woman in my life
and to be honest with you, kid,
it doesn’t matter if they send me here
or there, fact is, I’m already dead,
just waiting to be buried,
so I may as well give it
one last shot
because the graveyard isn’t going
to wait long for an old cat like me,
and what is all of this going to matter then?
It’ll mean jack shit, that’s what.
Now go home, or find
something else
to do with yourself
cause the nurse
with the big tits
is calling the bingo numbers
this afternoon
and I’m feeling lucky.”

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First date

By Tyler Bigney

So, she said
you’re some sort of writer?
I guess you could call me that.
What do you write?
I write about everything, really.
No, she said, I mean, like,
do you write poetry
or short stories or what?
Both, I said.
There’s no money
in poetry, she laughed.
Not at all, I smiled,
and changed the subject.
What about you
What do you do?
Oh, I work in insurance.
I mean, it sucks,
but it’s not completely awful
or anything.
It pays the bills.
Good money, I bet.
Good money, she nodded.

I waved the waitress over.
Can she have the bill, please, I said,
nodding to my date
across the table.

I looked up from my feet
once the waitress was
out of earshot.
I sort of just assumed,
I said, smiling, so wide
I laughed.

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