Thursday, January 22, 2015

2 O'CLOCK . . .

artwork: ralph murre

by Shoshauna Shy

His cousin arranged this                                                                  
so he agreed to show up
to find that the 30+ woman
seated beside the ficus plant
has a head of amber curls
which gives her face a spritely
flourish, and he likes how
her sweater sleeves are pushed
to the elbows signifying
a take-charge demeanor.
The woman sees his thick crop
of sun-streaked hair and dark
lashes, but would trade either
for another eight inches in height. 
Even six.
Still, his jacket with the loosened
hip buckles and stylish cuffs
makes up for it.

He figures he could excuse
the lack of cleavage if she listens
to Duke Ellington or drives
a newer car.
And after she orders a second
almond steamer, he bets it
could become endearing
the way she pronounces the “t”
in “often.”
She gives him the benefit
of the doubt that he doesn’t
always tap table tops or rock
a knee (he is simply nervous
as is she), and thinks it charming
the way he tests his latte
with his tongue.

He surmises he could adapt
to the smell of strawberry
shower gel if she enjoys
spending hours in a kitchen.
She hopes his broad palms
indicate an affinity for shovels
and bandsaws, though an aptitude
for engines would be equally
She wishes he had left his ex-wife
instead of the other way around
for the name Krissy  has cropped up
more than is pleasing,
and she estimates that 40% of his tone
is regret and 60% relief,
but it’s rather tricky to determine.
She is not convinced she wants
a dinner date to follow

and he has no idea that the only way
a dinner date will follow
is if he harnesses his impulse
to suggest it, then doesn’t contact her
again till Thursday.

When their mugs are near-empty,
the badminton birdie exhausted
between them, and she has given
him a shy little wave outside
before hopping onto a bicycle,
he decides that if it turns out
she is partial to Star Trek reruns
and never votes Republican,
he could forgive
the thick ankles.

~ previously published by Milk Sugar Literary Journal