By Graham Coppin
I had chicken pox as a child. Rubella and the mumps.
My tonsils came out when I was three. I am not currently
under a physician’s care for any ailment or injury although
see below. I have lived outside the United States because
I was born outside the United States. My left ring toe has
a callus, same spot same toe as my father. He passed away
of bladder cancer and a broken heart. My mother before him
died of stomach cancer and a broken heart. I used to smoke.
Quit years ago and took up other things much worse for me.
I drink when I can’t. I am allergic to penicillin. At least
that’s what my mother told me. One of the many things
I was taught would be my undoing. I am undetectable.
Genvoya keeps it that way. I take Doxepin when I can’t sleep
or need to sleep. I sleep on average seven hours a night.
Today I have high creatinine. Ask me again tomorrow.
Yes, I use a seat belt. My uncle Michael is a schizophrenic
and survives in a state institution. My uncle Mervyn developed
adult onset diabetes and got both legs amputated, leaving me
to carry him up the stairs at my parents’ fiftieth. His wife
my aunt Betty is still going strong spending the money that
there’s no need to bequeath to anyone especially me. She’s barren
my mother used to whisper. I inject testosterone cypionate once
a fortnight into my ass to combat low T. I don’t eat red meat.
I exercise. Pray mostly. My father’s father died of lung
cancer. His wife my grandmother Flo went of dementia,
breathing her last in a pool of her own waste in a home
that used to be a hotel when I was a teen. The hotel where
an older man once lured me to his room and did things.
Graham Coppin was born in South Africa, lives in Brooklyn and has studied with Amy Beeder, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Jericho Brown. He’s recently been published in Burningword and has work forthcoming in FRiGG and OxMag.
Originally appeared in NOR 20.