Tamara Madison

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

The Narcoleptic

He had lost his license
but he still had a job
he could ride to,
15 miles along
the San Gabriel River
bike path each way.
He’d tie his hair back
and pedal off.
He lost those 30 pounds
at last and got a girl
who liked his kind eyes
and pliant demeanor.
When he lost his job
for falling asleep
and then arguing about it
he stayed home all day
eating donuts.
When his money ran out
his girl stayed by him
and they made do
panhandling in the Shore.
His roommate was a dick
with a job. They took
his credit cards, bought
whatever they could
on Second Street
until the dick found out
and turned them in.
Later he was seen
on a home improvement
show with a new girlfriend.
She was only 25 and already
had a house to renovate.
He was on the show with her,
toting windows, hanging doors.
She bought some new
kitchen cabinets
but by the next filming
the cabinets had “disappeared”
along with the narcoleptic
with his kind eyes
and possum-straight ponytail.


Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac, Sheila-Na-Gig and many other publications. She has recently retired from teaching English and French in Los Angeles and is happy to finally get some sleep.