Gilbert and Ed Washing the Wheelchairs, Telegraph Avenue Coin-Op

We come each Saturday. Sometimes we sing,

tell knock knock jokes to lighten, lift our chore—

car wash duet, our prayer for bodies aching

 

in wards of orderlies and moans, in wings

with Ansel Adams prints on walls, Half Dome décor.

We come each Saturday. Sometimes we sing

 

Sinatra, fly me to the moon. We bring

our boom box in the van, open both doors,

 

duet, our prayer for bodies aching,

confined to narrow beds, remembering

a picnic, August 1934.

We come each Saturday. Sometimes we sing

 

but mostly listen to high-powered spray rinsing

these fleets of unfilled seats, each week a dozen more,

our prayer for bodies aching

 

we never meet yet surely know those whispering

our names and words we’ve heard somewhere before.

We come each Saturday. Sometimes we sing,

our bodies aching.

Kathleen McClung, author of Almost the Rowboat, is winner of the Rita Dove poetry award, Maria W. Faust sonnet award, Susan McClure poetry prize and others. She lives in San Francisco and teaches at Skyline College and the Writing Salon. http://www.kathleenmcclung.com/.

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