There it is again,” he says The aura The slight dizziness and the déjà vu another memory of things that never happened “Sometimes,” he says, “I wonder why I’m on the floor.” Why his face hurts Why he can’t breathe through his nose And where all the blood came from . . . . Or once How his car got on the wrong side of the street Up the grass outside the Jiffy Lube And who all the people were Concerned and amazed That he rolled through the intersection Without killing anyone “Are you OK?” they ask “What happened? You want us to call somebody?” All good questions None with answers And no time to find them Because his window of functionality Is slamming itself closed. “When I snap out of it,” he says, I’ve got a few minutes— maybe five.” Until the headache The nausea And confusion hit Five minutes Until the whirling vertigo Until he can’t drive Or stand Or think straight about anything Except throwing up Then going to sleep In a very quiet Very dark room “It never goes away,” he says The dread of another seizure The paranoia The depression and rage In spite of the meds Or maybe because of them Side effects may include: Hostility, nervousness, Personality disorders, Irritability Delusions Agitation, apathy Mood swings, aggression Suicidal thoughts. “Which is fine,” he says, “But what if you’ve got all that before taking medication?” Paranoia, anxiety Depression, rage All part of the program When you’re born with a brain Full of bad wiring “So what’s that leave you?” he says Other than jokes Some from his parents About how they’d been right all along “Something’s wrong with that boy; we’ve said it for years.’” The nighttime episodes His face and chest banging And banging and banging and banging Into the mattress Seizures undiagnosed “’Been doing that since he was a baby. Just one of those things, is all.’” He considers my whiskey Then frowns “Nah,” he says, “not worth it.” His brain and the booze They don’t get along anymore Maybe not ever “I’ll tell you what, though: I miss it like hell.” Then it’s time for the trash to haul itself out I pat down my pockets For lighter and smokes While my brain-damaged pal Shoves me carward Sober and ready To drive me back home