by Adrian Slonaker
I twirled the curly handset cord just as I’d have stretched a strand
of watermelon bubblegum, which I’d have been chewing if
I hadn’t fingered the circular slots of the
rotary phone the shade of black leather boots,
hearing the dial spin six times and then that
confident teenage soprano
with no trace of the Romanian syllables you’d spoken before you learned words like
“Fountainhead” and “butt.”
We’d reached the age for pubic hair but not for legal contracts,
and late nights-after Voltaire had been parsed and calculus had been cursed at-
you sorted a basket of then-virginal angst over the older guy who visited you
at work at Baskin Robbins and called you his multilingual mystery girl,
or you fumed about your father who’d pissed out the home fires
before absconding to the big city yet showed up at your church
the way a cockroach creeps across a birthday cake.
So I revealed the splotches of guilt oozing from behind an
antiseptic plaster of perfectionism I’d slapped on to stanch
the freakishness of misfitting in a family of Mennonite monoliths as a
restless pervert hiding behind a bulwark of prayer books and lilacs.
Now you’re a competent adolescent psychiatrist while I’ve
graduated to nightmares at noon.
Zigzagging back and forth across the Canadian/US border, Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor and is fond of rain, Russian sweets, and folk-revival music. Adrian’s poetry has been nominated for a Best of the Net award and appeared in Algebra of Owls, WINK: Writers in the Know, Dodging the Rain, Aerodrome, and elsewhere.