brook house 2

By Bunkong Tuon

My wife and I walk into Target,
look around us, people everywhere,
frown at each other and know
what we must do. We race
through aisles of summer dresses
slinging lazily on racks, run through
a gauntlet of ties, dress shirts and pants,
pass Electronics, and slow down
in Toys to find ourselves standing
before a shelf of hula hoops—
small ones and big ones,
in yellow, pink, purple and green,
like Saturn’s rings on drugs
displayed on top of each other.
“How about that bright pink one?”
My wife asks and laughs.
“Very funny, Dear. I’m getting
that green one,” I say.
A girl with her father look over.
The father avoids eye contact.
I mumble, “Let’s get out of here.”

After supper, I go to my garage,
remember what the doctor said.
With my triglyceride passing
the 1000th mark, I am either
a walking miracle or a tragedy
waiting to happen. Since then,
I’ve dieted and looked for ways
to trim the fat and lean the heart
muscles. I hold the hoop around
my waist, visualize what I’m about
to do, take a deep breath, and begin
swinging my hips, gyrating my body,
like a drunken uncle at a wedding.
The hula hoop spirals downward
and hits concrete. I pick it up
and try again. Again it falls
flat within seconds. I am in my 40s,
a hula hoop around my ankles
in the stuffy garage on a Friday night.
Doc, I am no walking miracle.

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