After the Phone Call

By Robert VanderMolen Robert VanderMolen
She looked nearly the same
But when I hugged her
There was substantially more
To her—no doubt as with me.
She fibbed as I did at the edge
Of curb under the streetlight
As spiders dropped like tiny
Parachutes—they were difficult
To see. On the periphery
Of good luck, I thought,
Revisiting her quirky habits
And expressions, what I eventually
Found so bothersome. Except
When I glanced at my watch
I discovered I was trembling
Like a small-time embezzler.
I see, she said, you must have
An appointment. The driveways
And hedges funneling back
Into darkness, into someone else's
Childhood, where speech was
An obstacle. Wild turkeys
Approaching across the lawn.
Oh no, I said, I'm just so pleased
To see you. But that didn't
Make sense either. She cocked
Her head, a woman with grown
Twins and three conniving husbands.
Even my toes felt damp. I remember,
She said, when you'd lay your head
On my lap, I'd stroke your hair—
I didn't recall. Though I thought
That would be a good idea now.
But I'm married, I said. I own
My own business. It would have
Been helpful if I'd planned
Some banter. I'm a high school
Principal, she told me,
I don't put up with horseshit
From anyone. I brushed the arm
Of her jacket—she merely stared.
A door slammed. A grown idiot
Drooled in an attic somewhere down
The lane. I had another image
As well, one that held an odor
Of patchouli oil. As she stepped
Forward without caution, placed a hand
On my neck. Take me, she insisted,
To those rivets of flame following
Wire—because this is it,
You'll never have another
Hour. I immediately felt
Calmer...

Source: Poetry (October 2006).

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2006
 Robert  VanderMolen

Biography

Robert VanderMolen lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His latest collection of poems is Water (Michigan State University Press, 2008).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Relationships

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