by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

In the Church of the Virgin of Guadelupe
my teeth hurt so bad
tears run down the Virgin’s face

but I pull out my scratch pad
and begin to write my autobiography
as yet untitled

My wife said: I don’t want to be with a man
who can’t write his autobiography
before she boarded the plane
for Michigan
where she would press her back
against snow drifts seventeen feet tall

If I don’t have your autobiography
to guide me back
I’ll be lost in the snow and ice forever
and in the Spring they’ll find my cold, decaying body

The priest says:
This isn’t the English Library
Why don’t you write your autobiography there?

but I say: They serve teas and cookies there
and all the people are old
and I hate the old
The old have lost all their passion
and remind me that I’m
going to die

The priest says:
I’m old
and don’t all these statues remind you
that you’re going to die?

I say: Yes, but it’s different
It’s spiritual
and the pain in my teeth
is one
with the pain
of the Virgin of Guadelupe
and of Jesus himself

The priest leaves and returns
with a battered Bic
which he extends to me

He says: This is what I used to write my own autobiography
If you run out of ink
feel free to use it

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