Mambo Lessons

by Joshua Michael Stewart

WE'RE far too feeble to take Mambo lessons, The old man shouts.
We’re far too feeble to breathe and we do that, his wife explains.

The house smells of old curtains and sealed windows—
he, like fish wrapped in newspaper, and she much the same.

The old man hacks up a gallon of phlegm a day. The old woman
uses it for cooking grease and as makeup to hide her veins.

I hate oatmeal, the old man yelps, why can’t you understand?
It’s good for you, she says, shut up before I wallop you with my cane.

He reaches over the table, past the bowl of rotting fruit,
and takes her thin hands. You’re not to blame.

She wears nothing underneath her house coat; he urinates off the porch.
The neighbors bolt their doors, and scream: Are you insane?

They are very old and can’t remember a thing. Every morning
she turns to him: You remind me of my husband, Wayne.

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