Green Hills Literary Lantern

When I Lost It



I was crossing a glassy stretch of middle age,

the farther shore still not quite visible,

when my mojo quit.  My wife had turned gray,

my daughter was angry about her breasts,

and my son had wandered into a cornfield

and wouldn't come out.  (I don't remember

what actually happened, this is just how it felt.)

I checked the gas tank, and though I'd been driving

for days, the tank was still full.  I went to see my doctor.

He simply took it out (my mojo, that is), put it on

the examining table, poked it, walked around it,

slowly as if it were a piece of modern sculpture,

and said it looked fine to him.  I felt better

when I left.  Having it poked.  Having the doc say

it looked okay.  But it still didn't work.

My wife could tell you.  Except she's too embarrassed.

So I took it to a plumber.  He pounded it for hours.

Sent his snake all through it, replaced a bunch of pipes

with high-quality copper.  Again I felt better,

like some test subject full of sugar pills.

But still no mojo.  I called my friends,

who gathered around my bed.  "I'm not dying,"

I said, "just . . . just . . . depleted, like a battery

or my bank account."  Some said to eat less fat,

more roughage.  Someone said I needed a vacation

at one of those all-naked resorts in Jamaica.

Judas said (there's always a Judas in every group),

she said I never had no mojo to begin with.

Maybe she was right.  I stood up, or tried to --

I wanted to shove it in her face --

but couldn't remember where I put it.

Thank God for TV.  Now that I've forgotten

how to stand (I'm not speaking literally, of course,

this is just how it feels), television is the only thing

I'm good at.  I close my eyes and replay the story

of my life.  I'm still editing -- adding characters,

deleting birthdays, adding lots and lots of mojo.


                                (as previously published in Tar River Poetry)



Lee Rossi's work has appeared in Chelsea, The Southern Poetry Review, The Sun, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Pool, Green Mountains Review, Poet Lore and other publications. Recent poems have been accepted by Nimrod, Poetry East and the Atlanta Review.