In (and out) of the loop

local coffee place
sipping my solitary cup
checking email

next table over
a group of men older
than I, age gap not of

the six zealously swap
tales of doctor visits with
enthusiasm once reserved
for one-night stands
summer romances

familiar names swirl
through their regaling
Alzheimer’s, Chron’s,
Cirrhosis taking the places
of honor once held by
Mantle, Mays, Snyder

reeling off statistics like
they were twelve again
arguing conflicting treatments
with firm convictions that
their guy is absolutely
the better player

the conversation is
not foreign to me
only the proximity

mornings often find me in
front of my laptop
messaging with friends from
various stages of my life
scattered at far-flung locales
sharing their struggles
acknowledging my grudgingly
accepting empathy of
Parkinson’s, arthritis, diabetes

their statistics quoted from
doctor’s words, websites read,
support groups attended
and I thankfully, at times
guiltily have little to add

taking a final sip of coffee
I can simply log off, get up,
leave my tip on the table
or mug by my computer
thoughtfully walk away

Mark Lucker

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I am a poet, writer and teacher who moved from Minnesota to New Orleans in 2008 to help rebuild the worst public school system in America. It is a huge challenge to say the least. Now, after ten years, I have returned home to my native Midwest. Writing - in many different forms and ways - has saved me untold thousands in therapy bills throughout the years. Reading my writings may do either the same - or just the opposite - for you. Read at your own risk, as I do not offer writer malpractice insurance. ;-{) I hope you enjoy what you read here.