fall 2015 / Poetry 2015 / Uncategorized / Volume 46

Who’d do a thing like that?—Lowell Jaeger

She’s wanting me to know how her twin stepsons,

after losing a Little League double-header,

took baseball bats and busted all

the reflectors in every grain truck

parked in the lot along the tracks

near the Farm Supply at the edge of town.

Who’d do a thing like that?

 

I’m waiting for a burger, sweet potato fries,

and martini take-out, minding my own

share of confusion on the sticky vinyl

corner booth of the hotel restaurant lounge.

And she’s resolved to slide in beside a stranger,

because I look receptive, I guess, and maybe

 

I can help her figure why her husband

took a separate bedroom in their own home.

I don’t know if he’s gay or been abused

as a kid, or what, she confesses

as if she’s telling a clerk her shoe size.

He hasn’t touched me in years. I’m worried

 

what sort of answers she’s got me tagged for,

as she leaves the restaurant trailing me, offering

to carry my martini, sipping it like she owns it

all the way to the elevator.  What’s your husband

say about it? I ask.  Which rends the moment

with margin for her to reach out and dandle

the side of my head.  Guys from the wheat fields

don’t talk, she shrugs.  Adds, What floor? —

 

as she gulps the rest of my martini,

allowing her a free hand on me, climbing

as the car climbs up and up and up

into some audacious notion she’s welcome in my room.

Who’d do a thing like that?  I’m pissed

about my lost martini, panicked I won’t

muster balls enough to ditch this middle-aged

farm mama coming at me like a grain truck.

Also wishing I had a baseball bat

and if she had reflectors, I’d smash ‘em.

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