(c) Kenneth Pobo, 2015
“Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?!”
“Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte!”
Jeff and Jerry fight often. They never throw things or break glassware. An eruption, steps up the stairs, and two hours of sulky silence. The storm clears and they watch a Dick Van Dyke Show rerun. For twenty-three years now.
They’re in love. Not in love. A protractor kiss-jousting with a compass.
The worst fight happened on July 4th, 1999. Jeff said he needed more independence on Independence Day. He laughed and slapped his knee. Jerry said, “You can have all the Independence you want. I’ll pack for you.”
The corn on the cob never got shucked. The steaks never made it to the grill.
At 8:15pm bats started flying in a dance with sunset. They looked good together, a Rogers and Astaire perfection just over the treetops. A picoted moon bounced on the tips of tall red monardas, enjoying gold-slippered fireflies walking along edges of buddleia leaves.
It could have ended that night. A seven-year relationship caught on a hook and wriggling to get free. It didn’t. Sometimes you wait it out, if you can. The hook weakens. The impossible “I’m sorry” darts out unexpectedly.
They didn’t make love that night. They missed the fireworks and ate leftover pizza, the hair on the arms tickling as they sat close together. Jerry’s grandmother’s clock, the one that looked like it was stolen from a Thin Man movie, ticked its steady heartbeat.
July 5. The neighbors’ chickens clucking and the percolator blubbing. Grandfather Ott morning glories twirling up the flagpole, open until the afternoon, when Jerry shucks and Jeff hunts in the garage for a half-opened bag of charcoal.
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Check out Kenneth Pobo’s poems in The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press).
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