Marianna Boncek

Morning Temptations

Saffron monk enters Stewarts Shop;
pours himself hot black liquid in pure white cup,
glances down at the headlines of
The New York Times, The Post, The Times Herald Record..
Eyes flutter up to Playboy girdled in brown paper.
Walks past cases full of ice cold Heineken, Budweiser, Old Milwaukee.
At the counter pauses, eyes scanning trays piled high
with danish, bagels, donuts, pastries.
When his turn comes he steps up to the cashier,
glances over her shoulder at cigarettes and lottery tickets,
then pays for his only sin.

Weekend College, Brattleboro, Vermont; 1991

When you said
you liked crow's feet
on women,
I wanted to be old.

Your gleaming black curls
seemed to take up the whole street
when we crossed
from Linden onto Main.

When we met,
one weekend a month,
you wore your brightly colored Brattleboro pants,
the ones you would never wear
in Willamette, Connecticut
in front of your Mormon wife.

We would both wear Birkies
and pretend we were
versed in secret knowledge
that we only knew here,
that was only held here ,
in this place,
in this moment.
As if this place existed,
in some sort of aboriginal dreamtime.

When you held my infant daughter
for the first time,
nestled in your crossed legs,
I thought vaguely that somehow
she should have been your daughter.

The air in our sexless hotel room
always smelled of garlic and Old Spice;
scents you inherited from your Italian grandfather.
Every month,
when we would check into the same room
the channel would still be set at MTV,
your favorite channel,
a liking of yours I simply endured
because I could do nothing else.
You would sing off-key while you would shave,
exiting the bathroom,
waving your razor,
like a white-chinned conductor,
making some point
you had pondered during shaving meditations.

At night, we would get pizza
or heroes,
walk until dawn
looking for open doors,
forbidden places to sit
and eat our fast food wisdom.

Do you remember the night
in the Latchis Theater?
We sat in the darkened aisle,
you could only find one working light switch,
munching among the shadowed
Art Deco-ed Muses
sharing cheese, pepperoni and bite sized secrets.

At your funeral,
Your wife stared accusingly
As if my weeping
were some sort of confession.

Your son,
with airplane arms,
danced in narrow lemniscates
in front of your casket.

I am old now.
I wish you could see my crow's feet.

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