by Joseph Armstead
Sitting down, finally, hands cold and trembling,
feeling angry, dirty, and lost...
Six hours on the road since sunset, coffee staining his breath,
driving through the foggy grayness
of an early winter's rainstorm, going north up Highway 101,
outside Inverness, the California town, not the Scottish one,
abandoned fisheries and boulder-strewn farmland on hillsides,
shaggy cows looking forlorn standing in mud,
ramshackle weather-beaten tourist cottages shining
like aged, wet leather under the insistent downpour,
thinking back to her cries of passion
(God, but her tight, hot moistness
had felt divine, a gift stolen from angels)
that suddenly became bleats of alarm,
her smoothly rolling hips suddenly jerking
as her legs kicked in surprised alarm,
as the bedroom door abruptly swung open
someone, a man, husband/lover, can't really be clear who,
someone who should have been a thousand miles
and two time zones away, came home early,
clueless, and invaded an intimate space,
newly-plundered, his romantic haven despoiled,
to witness a betrayal of the heart
expressed in naked physicality.
The look in that man's eyes made him wither inside.
His car had been his salvation as,
trouserless and barefoot, he'd run outdoors,
fumbling with keys ripped from the pocket of the pants
he clenched in his fist,
while the rain poured down.
Six hours on the road today, running, self-loathing
mixed with despair and cold water dripping
off the end of his nose,
he was startled by the sound of the clock's chimes
in the tiny room as they tolled
the arrival of midnight.
Sadly, he noticed how his hands no longer trembled.
Last updated August 25, 2011