One more Fourth of July
year two thousand and thirteen
getting my morning music fix
with Pokey Lafarge
& the South City Three
on the stereo console
singing about Cairo, Illinois
and me being a true-heart,
albeit transplanted midwestern gal,
guess you could say I'm real partial
to this sad, high, and lonesome song.
Day off work, course ~
ran my dog under morning pepper tree shade,
ukulele practice, then go visit
with my family down the street,
hang out, shoot the breeze
in my brother-in-law's garage,
check out all his new old junk
do a little bench racing
in Shawna's rustbucket
1937 Ford truck jalopy
too hot to put that starter in
so we run through joyful backyard
sprinklers in our shorts
bbq/sangria/fireworks sounds okay too,
and God, bless America,
damned sorry state we're in now,
sure could use some extra, anyways.
I prepare justifications to be close to him

drop boxes of office supplies on the floor by his desk

so that I can spend a few more seconds lingering near his feet, picking up

tiny metal paper clips and scattered number two pencils

vociferously proclaim impromptu donut runs to the bakery

my treat for the workplace, for him. Afterward, after work.

I pursue his car almost all the way

to his home, cling to his bumper

smile at him whenever I see him checking

his rear view mirror, veer off at the last moment

just prior to the turn-off to his cul-de-sac

stop the car around the corner and wait.

I fritter the night hours watching him sleep

first from the car, quietly parked across the street

then from the shelter of the bushes behind his house,

pressed against his bedroom window, my hands leaving

faint outlines of sweat on the glass

as I think of more ways to get closer

try to find courage to say the things I must say.

From the massive continent
of the school library's unabridged dictionary
someone has carved out
and set adrift
the island of a single word --

In someone's pocket
the purloined noun
bulges like raw diamonds,
glows neon,
it rolls around someone's tongue
like ice cream before dinner.
In the belated adolescence of my student years,
living by the words of the music
that blared my ears while I revised,
I spent restless nights alone
in exam stress and unacknowledged lust
while in the room above, your bedsprings creaked
as you made love to a woman
who shared my sister’s name.

Your daytime fingers making music,
the deep low thrill of bow on string
sent shivers down my spine
as I sat serious at my desk,
gazing through the window at the garden
where a black cat crossed the lawn.