Cheryl Rice


Romeo in July


It is hard to be Romeo after a day at the shop,
smelling of tires, black-uniformed, exhausted,
hard to keep awake in the dim trailer light,
Martha Stewart declaiming her pumpkin spoon bread
in her helpful, monotonous way.
It is difficult, Manny, Moe& Jack aside,
to work up a spark, but you did,
our long separations gasoline to light
a few short hours on a Friday, several Fridays in July.

It is hard, too, to be Juliet without poison,
long drives after cubicle days,
Great Gildersleeve riding shotgun,
Jack Benny soothing Carmichael in the rumble seat,
Juliet with no nurse to run interference,
while I slip into something easier
to take off again, Juliet who can tell by now
Barrymores from the understudies,

Juliet of the ample belly and speckled thighs,
Romeo of the hand-rolled smokes,
twelve-step clubs and weekend father’s taxi.
The Thruway our balcony,
our masked ball a couple of plates of chicken fingers,
popcorn and a video, our hopeless romance
aroma of a discount candle,
wooden fish dangling from curtain rods,
smoky blue eyes hovering in bedside lamplight,
rimmed with sleep, slipping to the edge of the stage,
no encores, the merciful knife of night
ending our drawn-out scene.



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1 comment:

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