Bitten Off Part

for Lester

He can’t put me back
where he found me.
He’s been dead nearly
five years. Living

above the cobbler’s
shop on Lake
Street—those were the best
days of his life.

His brother says.
I agree. Will never know
for certain. He stopped
skating outside on bitter

Minnesota winter nights
with his best friend
when he was 16. 32 more
years to lose track of

without a hockey stick.
In cardboard boxes,
all those records
he didn’t listen to

in his final days. From a distant
radio, I hear Tom Waits
growl “Downtown Train.”
We took one of those

when he came to
the big city

before he moved me
to the middle.

He didn’t get to see
a rat till the last night.
He just wanted
a glimpse. A bit part
In his own life.

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