Monday, September 19, 2011

Robert E. Petras


She’s neither Ginger nor Marianne,
has the face and body only a plastic surgeon academy could love,
to ask a personal question:
if stranded upon a deserted island
together, would you play footsies with her?
Not as long as carpel tunnel holds off
would I touch her with ten feet of treated lumber
you tell your office buddies.

It’s been a long day
at the desk and you drift
into a daydream, drift to the ocean,
drift into the uncharted
just you and—let’s call her Aria
because she’s been playing
solo polo for a lifetime.

A week passes in your mind,
your imagination running wild,
your wife spreading more than rumors,
your wife more than humoring the Good Humor Man,
your wife blowing her glass-blowing instructor.
Didn’t she just jack up
the life insurance on you?
Yes, you declare, yes, yes,
I will play footsies
with Aria, if only for spite,
if only for revenge.

Another week passes.
Two weeks.
Then a month blows by with the trade winds
while you consume a steady diet
of only coconuts but they could well be
brass supplements because
you are growing a third ball—
the one that counts—the inner ball.
Once off paradise
you will tell your pseudo-widow
how you and Aria shacked up
under the palm leaf thatches.

Meanwhile, on a strict Deserted Island Diet
Aria is melting away fat like a pig on a spit
and is starting to look like Kirstie Alley—
“Dancing With the Stars” Kirstie
and you and she are doing crazy things together
like making snow angels in the sand.

During the third month
she’s taken up yoga, Pilates and tantric meditation
while you try to catch fish
because you need protein
because the old staff sergeant
has been standing more at ease lately.

Your beard is growing and root black
is no substitute for Grecian Formula 44.
You lost too much weight.
and look like Christian Bale in “The Machinist,”
in need of Colgate,
in need of Old Spice Speed Stick,
in need of counseling
as Aria looks more and more like “Cheers” Kirstie,
the very image and fragrance of Coppertone
while you burn and burn, becoming
redder and redder—as red as a baboon’s butt.
She calls you pet names like my Little Baboo,
worsening your widening red shift.

Five o’clock rescues you from the dream island rescue,
returning you safely to the island of your desk,
your fortress, fortified with new knowledge,
in the now, knowing to watch out what you say
about the unwanted woman,
the one you once wouldn’t touch
with ten feet of treated Scotch pine
because she would well turn out to be a ten,
leaving you and your carpel tunnel clutching
the short end of a very long stick.

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