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  You could have a big dipper   

Bad Company by Laura Stamps

A gibbous moon hangs from the sky. Not a full moon.

Not a crescent moon. Not a new moon. Not a sliver

or a full bloom. Just a bulbous blob of moonglow.

Gibbous. What an odd word. Funny to see, funny

to say. Gibbous. Gibbous moon. Gibbidy, gibbidy,

gibbidy-goop. I stop by the hospital to visit a friend.

He was a good guy until he started hanging out with

a bad crowd. Adopted their bad habits. Developed

a heart condition. Takes medication for it every day.

Now he’s in the hospital with a heart flutter. I’m

not surprised. Those friends of his were bad news

from the start. It was easy to see. But he couldn’t.

He still can’t. They’re still his “buddies.” Bad

company. Walking down the corridor on his floor,

I pass several rooms before I reach his. In one room

a man tells the doctor he sees visions. Ex-girlfriends

and giant animals. Must be the gibbous moon.

In the next room, a man covered in blood screams

like a maniac, trying to pull out his tubes. Three

nurses struggle to subdue him. By the time I reach

my friend’s room, I’m done. Enough is enough.

We need to talk. No matter how much you love

your buddies, they aren’t worth ending up

in a place like this. Now he needs extra heart

medication (doesn’t work). Then shock therapy

to stabilize his heart (does work). We have a nice

visit. I only yell at him for an hour. Then I leave.

Return to my peaceful life with cats. The ones

who fill my days with endless love and joy. Good

company. Happy company. Happy is good. It’s

no wonder I prefer my “buddies” to have fur and

purr, gibbous moon or not.


Laura Stamps is the author of several poetry books, including IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, and TUNING OUT. Her book THE YEAR OF THE CAT won the Muses Prize. She is also the recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. You can find her every day on Twitter at @LauraStamps16.

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