|Jan/Feb 2016 Poetry|
Artwork by Marie Massey
Is it any wonder?
Take two barstools.
Put a red-haired, freckled, tattooed WWII vet
on one; a single girl from up north,
already 30, on the other. He makes her laugh,
calls her "babe." Somehow,
she finds this sufficient reason
to be driven to Angola, Indiana,
where you can get married
instantly, sans courtship or frills.
In 10 months, there are three of us,
in 10 years, six. Even the laissez faire
parenting norms of 50s and 60s
were beyond their means. No one
said "parenting" then. You had kids
to feed and keep clean and sort of safe,
a backyard and a few board games. Done.
Too, he had parts missing or broken by war,
by a Teutonic mother who shoved religion
down his throat. He oiled the parts left over
am and pm, with gallons of Stroh's beer.
She was full of fear, trapped by ends
that did not meet, feet that just kept growing.
Her love was always there, but she was away all day,
hunched over ledgers, adding up rich men's money.
So I did as I pleased, and what pleased me
was reckless, dangerous, thoughtless, thrilling.
Barefoot, bareback, I let the screen door slam
and rode away on my stingray
in whatever direction I wanted. I wanted.