Joaquin was your imaginary friend as a child
And you refer to him with fondness
And I suspect somewhere deep in your heart he’s still there
I look at your eyes and see them looking
For the friend you never saw but who meant
So much to your childhood
You remember letting Joaquin beat you at chess
(you were always better)
You remember thinking it would be funny to rearrange
Your parents’ room while they slept, but you needed
Joaquin’s help somehow, they never found it funny
And Joaquin never got that spanking for causing
All that trouble
Now that you remember I see your eyes turn in on themselves
Looking for Joaquin
They sift through veins and blood and marrow and
Bones, swimming up capillaries and into arteries
They explore every inch of your soul but all they find
Is an oddly shaped muscle pumping blood throughout
Your body lub dub lub dub lub dub, constantly,
Only stopping momentarily for a sneeze.
It’s like when my best friend moved to New York when I was
Younger – the little jokes were what I missed the most
You don’t remember when you stopped seeing Joaquin
But you know your parents had something to do with it
Was some time between the ages of 12 and 16 and on
Your 16th birthday Joaquin failed to make an appearance;
He didn’t even leave a card blood now fills the area in which
Joaquin could be found.
You understand that the heart is responsible for its circulation
And not your laughter. You know that your lungs take in oxygen,
Allowing the chemical processes that sustain your life to take place
And you breathe out CO2, food for the trees
Your movements and thoughts are controlled
By bursts of electricity crossing the space between synapses and
Coursing through neurons
Hand movements, blink blink, twice
Joaquin’s playful smile and mischievous suggestions have given way to:
6:30 wake up
7:00 coffee and cigarettes
7:10 cereal and fruit
7:30 go to work
5:00 go home
It’s a blissful redundancy with no room for Joaquin.
Every month you get a paycheck, save some of it.
And once in awhile you go out, fuck, get drunk.
Your parents have white hair, their skin has seen better days.
They never got botox, they don’t remember Joaquin.
Soon you forget too.
Years later when your bones don’t let you walk around like they used to,
When the constant lub dub of your heart sputters lub dub lub lub lub dub lub
And you realize that unlike a car battery, this one can’t be charged.
You’ll be sitting on your sterile bed, the walls around you white and bare,
A slight curtain separating you from your neighbor
(I’m long gone by this point)
One day you’ll move the curtain and see Joaquin in the bed next to you
He has no hair and his bones protrude oddly, from
Tightly drawn skin you ask him where he’s been and he sees you
His eyes light up, their shine brighter than the room
His choking laugh grates with mirth
You see the same sly grin and you remember fully
Your childhood, and memories of Joaquin
Your eyes close again and this time the blood flow has stopped
But you see Joaquin’s youthful face, smiling