Joe and Marge at the Movies
They were getting old and they didn't even know it. Joe smiled like the crowsfeet and the false teeth and the double chin didn't show--- weren't there. Marge walked just like the base of her neck didn't bow up and hump down into her spine--- just like the index and middle fingers of her right hand weren't twisting slowly, year by year as the knuckles grew to the size of chestnuts. Joe held that hand when they strolled down the aisle to find their seats, bought popcorn that they put between them, placing their hands in the sack together, later, fighting playfully over the last kernels. And as the movie progressed, Joe slid his arm behind Marge's thin shoulders, resting the crook of his elbow around her crooked back like they were made to fit like that. At the end of the show Joe would grin big as a kid or maybe cry and, either way, Marge would stretch over with her tiny face and kiss his chin, the touch soft as the muzzle of a colt. They would leave slowly, reluctant as lovers at the end of a long-awaited first date, wanting to stretch it out, wanting it not to end, waiting to see all the credits, hear the very last note of the closing overture,
remarking that movies are just too short.
Jay used to ride around Lincoln NE
with a little empty child-seat
on the back of his bike.
He told me once
that it wasn't the divorce that
it was her moving to New York,
taking little Toby with her.
I always think of Jay
riding around town with a
little empty child-seat.
While Waiting in the Cafeteria Of Bradshaw Public School for A Meeting, I Check My Watch Once More Before Allowing Myself to Become Distracted
It's a very small cafeteria, I'm thinking,
but it's a small town---
These must be kindergartners in here
doing their Art,
they're so small.
One boy talks loudest--- he is bigger
than all the rest.
He is coloring a map of the U.S.
and now I think these may not be
kindergartners and maybe this is Social Studies,
My country's purple... he's saying
and his country fits neatly on the 8 1/2 X 11
dittoed sheet he pinches proudly
in his raised hand---
his country looks good in
Now the children have left me
with my cup of coffee and watching
one of the cafeteria ladies place
the ketchup dispensers, spacing them evenly
across the fold-out tables,
preparing for lunch
and the squeeze bottle she sets beside me
has a picture of a 1950's housewife
dancing, the brand name,
in box-letters beneath.
I haven't seen a Squeeze-Ezy bottle
since I was 5 and with my parents
at Ideal Cafe' back home---
and suddenly I am 5
and thinking my world might fit
on an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet
and somehow maybe I do
have the power in one hand
to pull out of the box the best color
for the whole place;
and maybe if I had a hairnet like
this cafeteria lady's, her slate curls pulled,
contained, held tightly in place,
maybe one that keeps my head
inside the lines,
keeps me from always hurling myself
to the far ends of the universe---
holds me focused,
wraps the whole complicated mess
into a clearly labeled Crayola wrapper,
then I could make some kind of Art
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