Leaning into the Afternoons

my town

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Alabama, 1993

she bit my lip
as if she’d been caught in the act
in the single-wide, Magnolia white trailer
with the missing window
lined up with the rest
in rows like the houses
where i grew up
(but not at all)

this was my town
but i was the stranger here
she moves with practiced pace
silent not for the two at stage left
(the now familiar sounds of that Act
barely reaching the spotlight here)
but for the sake of the other
the wife
the mother
sleeping sound backstage; babe in arms
(the pang only now creeping back to me)

she leans and bends preoccupied
eyeing her reflection
pulling on her shoe
her mirror the glass of a portrait
hanging flimsy on the wall

i’m lying on the floor
licking my wound
liking my new adversary
a little amazed
a little amused
the taste of blood on my tongue
salty, bitter, alive!

she knows i pretend at being a writer
and she walks towards me:
will you write about this someday?
what will you say?
do you like my hair this way?
do you think we’ll kill more time this way?

there is a bruise above her left knee
like a dark, blue rose
my first brush with irony

it’s warm enough now
come Sunday morning
she’ll not have to cover it up
with nylon hose