Ron Riekki, 1/23/2017

Current Occupation: freelance writer
Former Occupation: military
Contact Information: Ron Riekki's books include U.P.: a novel (Sewanee Writers Series and Great Michigan Read nominated), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book from the Library of Michigan and finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award/Grand Prize shortlist, Midwest Book Award, Foreword Book of the Year, and Next Generation Indie Book Award), Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2016 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes—Best Regional Fiction and Next Generation Indie Book Award—Short Story finalist), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).

#

Roofers

He fell off.
My uncle told me
a similar story.
He was construction,
said he saw a body
zip by him,
not out of the corner of his eye,
but right there,
staring ahead
on a break
and then the                 body
and then the sound.
He said he walked off the job
right there,
that he could handle the bad pay,
although he said the pay wasn’t bad,
but it wasn’t good either.
It was just pay.
He could handle just pay,
but he couldn’t handle
stubborn death.
He said, You know what it sounded like?  No.
I remember the moment of his body tensing
right before he tried to recreate the sound.

#

No Calls for Twenty-four Hours as an EMT

It happened once.
Every other time
it was a bulldozer full
of missing arms,
teeth lost,
windshields somewhere,
but we had one shift,
this was Nov 23, 2005,
where we slept
and slept
and slept
and listened to an entire hockey game
and slept
and wondered
what it would be like
if people weren’t always hunting for pain.

#

A Guy in a Bar Told Me He’s a Millionaire

I said, “If you’re a millionaire,
buy me a drink.”

He said, “You don’t become a millionaire
by buying people drinks.”

I asked him what he does
and he said, “Nothing, I’m a millionaire.”

I realized millionaires
want you to smash them in the teeth.

You can’t go to court against a millionaire.
Not when you have to get up in six hours for day shift.
 

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