Constellations

A Prose Poem by Michael Estabrook

Old man sitting on a bench in the soft sunlight waiting for his wife inside getting her physical therapy shoulder rehabilitation. He’s trying to write a poem about nothing in particular, watching the old ladies coming and going carrying their colorful exercise balls and yoga mats, hearing the faint whir of the building air-conditioners, feeling the breeze moving the hairs on his legs ever so slightly, the smell of fresh cut grass flinging him back decades to his summer job on the golf course watering the greens at night then lying on his back memorizing the constellations twinkling billions of miles away.

His kidney transplant is six months old doing great, but he stays home afraid to move fearing it’ll be rejected and he’ll die. Understandable, I tell him as I sit down. But are you exercising? Doing some walking. I’m on this bench, aren’t I? No, I mean exercising. Can you lift weights? You need progressive resistance training to strengthen your core, you’re back, chest, legs and arms. It’ll make a new man out of you. Start with light bench presses, curls, deadlifts . . . and he’s staring wide-eyed at me like I’m trying to claw the new kidney out of his body.

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