Granite Replacing Medical by Henry Cherry

Granite with Pinon Freckles

It’s possible the guy
at the bar
was just an admonishment.

The rain and the heat
were strips of plastic
hanging in the doorway.

A box of pizza left on a corner
of the bar, and an electric pot
of water with lukewarm hot dogs.

You could smile. You could
fit a balled hand in
the cracked slats under the bar.

No disorder, skipping
along the CD jukebox.
Packets of caffeine pills

And Alka-Seltzer next to the
money. Everyone switching
seats as the night went on.

But no one remembers names
from those times. Was it Lynn?
Shannon, Dave?

I could shake them each by the
wrinkles I assume they
have browned across their lives.

Like my own personal juke with
the song that skipped. 

Replacing Cash Registers Before the Audit Comes 

The beers lighting
the green felt, correct
the tattoo removal scars

that linger with the mineral
enriched soil littered around the
clay pots by the doorway.

All that the night wants is to
be an altar to the filtered nicotine
swapped from cigs to teeth.

What news is coming
comes as bad but not
from the old television.

Those cathode tubes sit coated
in dust. The stale scent of keg
beer is a recognized addition

chaperoning the walk back home.
What signals remain cling to a
neon ambulance cornering on idle.

The decision to let them take a
a big toe winds off. After
long enough, they take

the reception from the
channels of non-iodized salt
sluggishly running the brain. 

Medical Alert Bracelet

You were a droning machine, an electronic orchestra,
attached to bodies absent of those things.

The televisions bedridden with a cold rush of piped-in air
tempering antimicrobial cleaners with the bloom of 

bacterial demise. White coats cut at the
thigh, dark script over the left breast. And coffee 

cups even the tiniest fist could crush. Antiseptics
connected to sparred stays of dropped ceiling lights 

that tinted the edges of all life with a purple
hint. You chirped through the blessings of technology,

a dark constant flicker of resolve. Hallway doors closed
to a thematic alert. Eventually, the beds sift empty.

Henry Cherry is a working journalist and teacher in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Cathexis Northwest Press, Australia’s Cordite Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Louisiana Review. He received a Los Angeles Press Club award in 2023 for his writing and photojournalism. His photography is collected by the Los Angeles Public Library and the Claremont Colleges.