Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 3

He filled the tall glass again
with amber-colored liquid, tipped
back his head and drank
so quickly, I don't think
he could have swallowed.

I watched him swipe
the back of his hand across
his wet lips, and turn
unsteadily, toward me
his half-focused eyes staring
at the tiny patches of my bikini.

Reaching into his breast pocket,
"Here," he said, "go get yourself a cherry cola."
And so I ran barefoot
across the gravel lot,
knowing even at this early hour
the cold glass bottle would soothe me.

I drank it, slowly
watching the pigs,
rooting in the muck oblivious to me there,
peering through the slats
listening to the distant sound
of a combine in the field nearby.

Years later, we sat side by side
his sallow skin and rail thin thighs
next to mine, rocking
the porch swing slowly in the midday heat.
Reaching into his breast pocket,
"Here," he said, "you're a good girl."

And I knew my silence had soothed him.

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