Charles Chaim Wax
The Great Activity Of Karma - Poem by Charles Chaim Wax
As soon as I entered
my sister’s apartment
for a home cooked Chinese dinner
she said, “Howard hurt his back
I don’t know if can go to work
you might have to help with
the rent this month—
well, not might,
you gotta help.”
“How’d he hurt his back? ” I asked.
“They drilled through the bone
to get at the brain,
to put some stuff in
to kill the cancer.”
I stared at my sister
what in the world was she
talking about? “I’ll pay the rent
I’ll pay the rent—
if Howard can’t work.”
“I got problems of my own
with the gallstones
and Howard’s back being hurt.
He never shoulda lifted up
when he fell down three days ago.
And all the while Mr. Orthman is yelling,
‘DON’T TOUCH ME. DON’T TOUCH ME.’
I ran up to call his son-in-law,
Frankie—he’s on pills, pills for sure.
He says, ‘Get my wife.’
I looked at him.
I just told him his father-in-law
fell down in the street
and he tells me to get his wife.
How the hell do I know
where she is. They wanted him
for the money.
Now they got the money.
But to wish for such a thing.
What goes around comes around.
Mr. Orthman wanted his wife dead.
When she was sick
he didn’t give her food.
A coupla times she banged
on my door
asking for a slice of white bread.
They been next door neighbors
for forty years so of course I gave it to her.”
I said slowly, “How could Mr. Orthman be dead?
You just said Howard lifted him up three days ago.”
“It don’t take long to die.”
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