Adrian M. Schnall


I met you one time,

Johnny Cash.

I was the one in the robin’s-egg blue mask

threading a line

to the left anterior descending

of your heart.


Your drummer told us

how your chest was caught in a giant vise,

van hurtling down an Interstate,

how that booming baritone of yours

could barely croak out “hospital.”


Did you hear

every mask and gown in the room

let out a cheer,

when the plugged-up pipe

deep in your heart

flowed free?

That wasn’t applause for a top-ten vocalist,

nor for the fingers

that coiled the snake so expertly.

No, that was a cheer for life.


You sent us each a country ham.

Other days we weren’t so lucky.

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