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Meditation at Niagara Falls, New York


The day breaks like a glacier.

My mind is an aria of fever, in red air ablaze,

a clammy crescendo, as I talk on the phone


with friends and colleagues

during a meeting where I am supposed to be

attending in person. But I am too sick


to be around people. I cough. My thoughts sink

like rocks in a lake

as everyone speaks. I look


on my laptop screen: my friend Alan, eyebrows

and tuxedo on fleek, posing with Tony Lo Bianco, star

of stage and screen, for a picture taken


by his spouse, freshly posted

on Facebook and The Gram.

My soul is a waterfall, cascading


as I take another pill; as I sip another cup

of Chamomile tea, my joints aching,

I say goodbye and hang up. I thank


the man upstairs for my spouse’s chicken soup; I think

of how Washington DC would be

a closed amusement park to me


if I was there like I planned; asking Tony what it was like

to have worked with Gene Hackman, who is

sometimes Popeye Doyle to me, other times Lex Luthor,


as well as Roy Scheider, both of whom were

in The French Connection with him. But I think

of Roy as Chief Brody in Jaws, ever since


since I was 10 years old, when I saw

French Connection and Jaws on TV, Cable

for the first time. Roy died


in 2008. The way I feel today

makes me think of my own death: would any

of the people I spoke with earlier


go to my wake or funeral

if I die before them? How long

will I suffer? Will I be alone?


Will I be in my own bed? Or in a hospital room,

like all of the women, natives and immigrants alike

in my family thus far? A hospice? A different country?


I am home. I have not left it

in a week, but it feel as if I have returned

from my nation’s capital.


I am not afraid exactly, but I have more

questions and concerns,

all of which will be answered in time;


all of which will be addressed in time;

like snow later on tonight; the weatherman

with the dashing moustache on TV, remarking


about a couple bundled up in Cobalt

blue jackets, their laughter sprays in water

onto a rusted hand rail, my head on fire.

Joey Nicoletti