Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tami

We both believe in mad money.
Those pennies and singles and whatever else
you set aside and disclose to no one
because it’s there strictly for when you go mad.
We are excellent at putting madness off
and letting cooler heads prevail
in front of those who need to see our strength.
But it’s in the off-putting that the madness
gets to grow in its intensity
so that when we feel it – boy,
do we feel it.
We nearly crave it.
And instead of madness being a splurge lunch
or a frivolous item online,
it is a stamp in our passports,
a car payment’s worth of hair care.
We are sitting in chairs next to each other,
hair wrapped comically in foils
and damp with chemicals
that will make us feel frivolous and beautiful
and more like ourselves.
We are shedding the old
and creating the new.
We are talking, laughing, sharing,
griping, venting.
In my mind, I see us as the cartoon women
sitting under the dryer hoods,
reading magazines and gossiping.
But by the time our hair is washed,
trimmed, and dried,
the madness has abated,
the mad money is spent,
and we’re ready to go out
and start saving again.

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Impulse

I hadn’t planned to stop anywhere on my way home.
That’s always how it is, though –
that whim takes you exactly where
you need to be.
I am waiting in line behind another car
to get back onto my route home
when I hear the short screech,
a sound like a baking sheet
bending in the heat of the oven,
and the grinding gravel beneath his wheels
and then beneath his helmet when he falls.
It’s all muffled from the fishbowl
of my own car,
but before I can finish thinking,
“Oh, Jesus,”
my fingers are dialing 9-1-1
on my cell phone.
I hadn’t planned to stop anywhere on my way home,
but now I am in the restaurant parking lot
listening to myself calmly give the location
and the nature of my emergency.
I am standing with the others,
telling them I’ve called
and help is coming.
Help comes, and it blocks the exit lane,
so we stand and watch them
place one man on an ambulance cot,
give the other man a clipboard to write down his story.
I am making small talk with the woman next to me,
and she comments that I seem to know
what I’m doing.
I tell her I hadn’t planned to stop on my way home,
but the same thing was also true the last time
I had to be the one to dial 9-1-1.

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