Over the Counter
Last Spring my friend Andy Anderson and I started a poetry conversation project. Basically we wanted a way to write more and wanted someone to collaborate with. The concept was simple: he would write a poem and I would have 48 hours to respond using his poem as a starting place for inspiration. We’d then go back and forth.
We did well for awhile. We were sticking to it and getting into a good rhythm. A bit about the project with a portion from the earlier section of our conversation was even selected for print by a monthly journal. Then the fall hit and things got a little crazy.
Now we're back writing with a new commitment to the 48 hour rule. It's been fun so far and given me a chance to write about things I would never have thought to write about. This is a new poem I wrote in response to a poem Andy wrote about people playing an aggressive game of marbles at work. Enjoy!
Over the Counter
I woke, surprised to find that my head weighed close to 200 pounds.
I craned my eyes toward the dial on the bathroom scale again.
Yes, it was as close to accurate as bathroom scales get.
203 pounds…and a little bit.
Maybe a 1/6 of an extra line.
You know how bathroom scales can be.
Thinking back I wish I’d read the caution label
before I’d purchased the nasal spray.
Stuffy and congested I had liberally squeezed
an inexact amount of the rose scented liquid up each nostril.
I had gone to sleep my sinuses feeling open and lofty
ready to intake and push out air in their usual manner.
Before drifting off I made a few mental notes,
about the sprays general attributes—rating it’s overall effectiveness,
ease of use, and pleasant scent—on a scale I’ve devised
for all over the counter nasal products.
The next morning , my alarm sounding fuzzy and odd,
I found I could not lift my head
more than a few centimeters above my pillow.
Slowly I rolled out of bed, sliding down head first
until my face rested on the floor.
With effort I propelled myself across the floor to the bathroom,
my forehead sliding smoothly across the floor
with a hollow slipping noise.
Luckily the bathroom scale was just inside the door.
After taking some estimated cranial measurements
(You know how bathroom scales can be)
I remembered the spray and thought to read the label.
Knocking it down from the counter
with a firm kick to the base of the sink I read the warning:
“CAUTION: May cause, headaches,
blurred vision, ‘Marble Head’, and fatigue.”
I sighed. This was just my luck.
I hate being fatigued.