Tony Gloeggler


The flashing red lights splash
against the brick buildings
as medics wheel the stretcher
to the curb. I take a peek,
the man looks a lot like me
and I wonder how they opened
my door, who called 911. Maybe
the super noticed my overflowing
mail box, the newspapers piled
on my welcome mat, and he rang
my bell and got no answer
a few times. Did they find me
lying in bed, my underwear bunched
around my ankles or my body
folded over the toilet bowl?
Did they notice the bare walls,
too many books, too many CDs
and my desk covered with scattered
papers? Nod at the open pill bottles
strewn upon the kitchen counter?
Shake their heads as fluffs of dust
blew across the floor, dirty dishes
soaked in the sink, shirts hung
from every door knob and think
I was too sick to take care of myself
or guess I was always kind of lazy,
a bit of a slob? Did they stop and look
at the photos on the bulletin board:
three old girl friends who loved me
and left, came back years later
and left me again, Larry
with his down syndrome tongue
hanging out of his open mouth
and raising his arms like he kicked
the Super Bowl’s winning field goal
after getting a yellow ribbon
for taking part in Special Olympics
and that one of me holding Jesse,
upside down by his ankles,
six years old with his smile
as wide as a basketball court,
his hair flopped out like Pistol
Pete Maravich and my mom,
dad and Jaime looking all stiff
and serious, uncomfortable as hell
while the photographer took
too long to shoot? Did they find
my hidden bottle of quarters,
were they tempted to pocket
a handful? Was my computer
sleeping or open to a porn site,
the Yankees’ late night box score,
my last poem, nearly finished?

First published in Chiron Review


Anthony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of New York City and has managed group homes for the mentally challenged in Brooklyn for over 35 years. He has work upcoming in Poet Lore, 2 Bridges Review, Blue Moon Review, Chiron Review, Paterson Literary Review, and misfit. His full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015). My next book will be published by NYQ Books in 2019