The Kept Man

by Jerry Ratch

I'm a kept man, I told them.

But I lied.


Quit trying to

blow up my balloons for me.

I'm a kept man.


What is botulism anyway?

Botulism, lyme disease,


I have it all.


If the Titanic rises from the bottom of the sea,

I will meet you on deck, in a deck chair.

Fully dressed for a change.


Did you say you were a king?

Or was that just


I need to know

before we return to the bottom

for another century.


I thought I overheard pre-recorded snoring

on prepaid phones.

I could've been misled or mistaken.