Monday Poem: Failing, in the Silliest Business

“How do you know you’re really a man?

I mean, really know?”  Genes, and jeans, and

Jeanne all say one thing; but here is Kelly,

questioning the plays I’ve made with my body

on hers.


Or is she merely being cheerfully metaphysical,

trying to burst the typical mental picture

of cloudy-blue-eyed,




After a fifteen-minute flight, lying ragged like a kite

hit by lighting, I was fizzed shy, sneezing, frisked

by “Anyways . . .”—the ambiguous ending

to a small dusty fling, one that started in the office

when I openly admitted I was scared of kites,

the heights they sometimes reach—twisting, tumbling

in those fierce winds, the minute constituents

of face-eating pollution, and the too-dark-to-be-bothered

rumors of electrical storms.


Kelly found my phobia silly and sufficiently cute,

or so she said when she came to hand off an envelope

in the mailroom; one exchange rearranged for a better

—or so I thought until flashing-blue struck.


With her, I experienced something never before felt,

not even with my beloved Jeanne, the first assurance

of my masculinity.  The second assurance—my son—

has yet to manifest.  So I’d curled my fingers around

a friendly risk, and shook it like the knotty limb

of a forgotten enemy.  I didn’t care to know

the physics of wet string entangling wood

undoubtedly rotted by unseen fungi.


“Blondes have more fun only in their heads,” 

was the best comeback I could think of in defense

to what may have been, not a rumination, but a warning. 

An intended hour of two illicits funny-tumbling around

turned sour, sadly—quartered hearts loving nothing

but the sweet idea

of finally coming apart. 


I knew what awaited us once we both returned

from our mutual sick day:  A murder of crows,

gossipy, who know of nothing better to do than peck

and pick and stick their beaks into everyone’s business,

to sip and speak of it then, now, and later over the carrion . . . 


I’m overthinking,

thinking over this conductive seductress who’s suddenly

back on top of me, overwhelmed already by the shuddering

nits mercy-kissing me all over.  A second wave of frisson,

a rash decision:  


Kelly wasn’t a real woman; the lie was in her name;

she bent genders and threatened to break up my marriage,

break my promise to my true love to give her our son.  Mine

was a crime against an animal; give it three thoughts—it’s silly. 

I did the only thing a real man could.

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