Hands on Lonely Knees by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Our hands freeze lonely on our knees.

We are mostly wearing old jeans, the unfashionable work kind, I have patches of dried paint on mine, and also some stains from when a honey truck filled with fifty thousand pounds of solid waste rear-ended my friends’ travel trailer, and I helped to salvage some of their possessions from it.

They had only bought it two weeks previous to its destruction, specially for this trip that several couples were taking down to the Everglades. They’d driven all the way from Michigan to Homestead with no mishaps, and here, turning into the hotel where we were going to spend the night prior to camping, their trailer home was destroyed.

I was younger than the rest, so the next day I accompanied them to the impound yard, where local law enforcement had had the rig towed. I pulled away mashed sections of metal with my bare hands and crawled in, to start my salvage operation. They were most interested in capturing their medicines, drugs for the heart and against depression. It was beastly hot in that wrecked trailer, and I almost passed out. I crawled out to down quarts of water. A lot of their possessions had been ruined, but I tossed out whatever was still useable. During this operation, I got battery acid on those jeans, which I would later use for painting, but I did not suffer any acid burns.

My friends took their loss with equanimity.

Years later I’m still wearing those jeans. They are thin and frayed, but I see no reason to get rid of them. My tendency to keep things came from my poverty-stricken childhood, but it irritates my wife. Most of the friends I took that trip to the Everglades with are dead or disabled or stricken with disease. I have some new friends. They are all younger than me. They don’t suffer from ageism. They seem to feel I am special, though I’m not.

My hands freeze on these lonely knees. I don’t know how to respond to this latest catastrophe, so I just sit, waiting for my dumb brain to catch up, to tell me how to interpret these events, and what to do in response.

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About the Author

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over nine hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including RAY’S ROAD REVIEW. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net for work published in 2011 through 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.