|Piggott, Arkansas Photograhy by David J. Thompson|
The High Notes
That summer we lived across the pasture
from a family of Kosher butchers. Stay away
from those Jews, my father the preacher said.
You’ll stick with our own kind, if you know
what’s good for you, but I ached hard for Lilly,
their beautiful eldest daughter; she of the dark,
tumbling hair, alabaster skin, and nipples
of the softest, sunset pink. We made love
every morning in the barn after she tended
to the lone dairy cow. The mad shrieking
of the horrified animals breathing their last
out in the killing yard was like the music
of angels to me in those hours of pure delight
on the moist morning hay, the cup of fresh milk
she gave me to drink like the sweetest of wines.
One early September morning, her father surprised us
with his long killing knife just as we finished
with each other. He pushed me off darling Lilly,
and, with a few quick strokes, left me wailing
in a way like never before as he dragged my love
away from me. I heard a few days later in the hospital
that Lily was seen crying at the train station on her way
to teach at a boarding school for tubercular girls
up in the mountains far away, never to see me again.
It was for the best, I guess, I wouldn’t want her to know
that the small, special parts of me left for the barn cats
to fight over had me trying to remember her touch
and groping myself in vain at night, hitting all the high notes
every Sunday in my smiling father’s church choir.
|Guymon, Oklahoma Photography By David J. Thompson|
Maybe Boys Against Girls
It ended for good a few weeks ago,
he tells me. Sheila was having her period
and when I got home late from drinking
after the game, she went all apeshit on me.
Started chucking stuff all over the kitchen.
I didn’t know what to do, so I slapped her.
Not too hard, just enough to quiet her down before
she woke up the whole goddamn neighborhood.
Maybe I shouldn’t have hit her, but tell me,
what the hell would you have done?
Before I can come up with an answer, he leans
across the table and says loud enough to turn
some heads at the bar toward our booth, You know,
one day, back in sixth grade they sent the boys to the gym
to play dodgeball, while all the girls watched
a movie in the cafeteria. We pretended we knew
what the girls movies was about, but now
it’s thirty years later and I still don’t have
a fucking clue. Why didn’t they have a movie
for us? he asks. Maybe I would have learned
something, wouldn’t be in this God awful mess today.
I don’t know, I tell him with a shrug and then a grin,
sounds like you all should have played dodgeball
together, you know, maybe boys against girls, get used
to dodging all the shit you’ll throw at each other
when you grow up. Yeah, that’s it, he says almost smiling
and tapping his empty glass softly on the tabletop,
we should have done that while we were still too young
to really start hurting each other.
|Kiss Photography By David J. Thompson|