And it wasn’t bad.
Parts were honey on a grapefruit. So you were right, a little bit, it was promising.
We started out sharing the three necessities for romance with me: a love of comic books, especially Peanuts, a love of Barbara Stanwyck films, and a hatred of the outdoors.
We were doomed when we got to the part about trees. “Oh, the weeping willow is just like my heart, all sway and drag.”
“Jesus,” I said, “you’re only a willow in that you’re so messy that I have to clean up after you.”
You could have soldered my ass to a workbench and fired a blow torch on it. I said I’m a birch since I’m not thick-skinned and can deal with cool weather. I’m no birch. They grow outdoors. I know I’d recognize one if it were pointed out to me, but who thinks about things outdoors? There’s mosquitoes there. Animals with sharp teeth. It’s better to make some popcorn and watch Double Indemnity.
You stormed out saying that someday you’ll “meet a hot guy whose greatest joy is clear-cutting forests.”
I suppose you meant that birchy me wouldn’t survive your big equipment. Another thing—why did you say over and over how nice you are, how your students think the world of you? Nice rots in the fridge. Right beside an open jar of Promising.
You have that goopy sentimental side, and by the way, weeping willow, my Aunt Franny! HA! You don’t weep. You don’t bend. But you see yourself as this gentle tree. You had a garden. You tried to make yourself go outdoors to water and weed, but you preferred the La-Z-Boy, the Best of Schroeder in your lap.
Maybe promising was a dream we both had on the same night. We woke and the best images in the dream faded before we had a chance to write them down.
Some dreams make you wake up tired. Like trees, they seem firm and larger than much of life. And beautiful—but we kept the shades down on each window, kept the doors shut. When the tree guys came with huge blades, our promises looked like stale bread with green stuff growing on it.
Kenneth Pobo won the 2009 poetry chapbook contest from Main Street Rag for his manuscript Trina and the Sky. It was published in 2009. In 2008, WordTech Press published his book called Glass Garden.