Rachel M. Simon

Condor Man

I’ll be plain.
During those summers
I joined approximately one hundred and twenty
juvenile diabetics in a baseball field
flailing our arms to signal Condor Man
to drop his bale of sugar free Chewels.
It sounds ridiculous.
Those summers I cheered babies
who gave themselves injections
for he first time. I ate government cheese.
The girl on the bunk above me had boobs
like empty toilet paper rolls. The oldest doctor’s wife
took a midnight hike of senility through the woods
and helicopters flew in to find her.
Medical lectures taught us our huge babies would hurt,
how to read with Vaseline glasses, and to eat bread before beer.
They never mentioned heroin and a redhead from our bunk
overdosed in high school. We picked a tree
next to the soccer field to serenade.
Valerie sat her bare ass on the sink
to shave her legs and married our best friend
four years later. Big Joe slept with
the tiny aerobics instructor from Mexico
in the laundry room, in a canoe, even the campers knew.
I can’t believe I’m writing another
about summer camp.
We screamed into industrial fans.
We met the cerebral palsic.
I was not alone.
Today we are a veterinarian,
a professor, and an IRS mom.
Today we are at Manhattan restaurants
telling scar-tissue stories
churning the stomachs of our peers
in fields near southern Oklahoma
and on the camp’s LiveCam we’re still
watching for Condor Man in the sky.

Rachel M. Simon
Condor Man is from Theory of Orange (Pavement Saw Press, 2007).