r  j    i n g r a m

 

from Stop Making Sense

 

What a Day That Was


Everyone in This Town is Named Sam









































What a Day That Was

 

The Harbar is empty except for my father & me. He orders a beer & hands me a pretzel while I watch boats pass each other in the river. The game is easy, I think to myself & toss a metal ring at a hook stuck in the wall. I miss the hook & the ring is caught by a string & falls back towards the table. The lake must be lonely with all these boats docked. He orders another beer & hands me a sucker. I love you, hook, I whisper & flip the ring again. More boats pass. It's a Friday. A ballgame is on. The Harbar is empty.

 

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Everyone in This Town is Named Sam

 

The boy in the bed next to mine is named Sam. He has been crying all night as they wean him off morphine. The nurse who helps me set my Gatorade down is named Sam. Half my face is bandaged so my depth perception has been a little off since the accident. The first person I kiss will be named Sam & the mother of my first girlfriend will also be named Sam. I don't realize it that night in the hospital, but everyone in this town is named Sam. Even the butcher's name is Sam. One Sam, a babysitter, will leave for college & another, an acolyte I train in church, will replace her. In 5 years our dog Sam will die of natural causes & I won't mourn for him until I am in my 20s & visiting from college. I will make an ice water in my mom's favorite glass but drop a cube on the floor. I will pick it up & instinctually toss it in the corner where Sam's water bowl sat my entire life. Sam will have been dead for years at this point. & then, out of nowhere, is when it will hit me. Sam is dead. & I will cry for Sam & every other Sam I have known.

 

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RJ INGRAM lives in Oakland where he is pursuing an MFA in creative writing with concentrations in poetry and nonfiction from Saint Marys College of California. RJ works as a poetry editor and social media editor for Omnidawn Publishing and has recent and forthcoming work from Sugar Mule, Sparkle Blink, and Pinwheel. His cat Brenda lives in North Carolina and lost a leg bringing sexy back.


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