Monday, August 8, 2011

Crossing the Gap

Image by August Sander, 1928

Crossing the Gap

Try asking Ernie Watts, a local bricklayer,
to explain how after a long day of work
and league night at the Lucky Strike
he can glide across the kitchen floor,
Old Style hovering like a ghost on his breath,
bowling shoes slung over one shoulder,
singing fly me to the moon to his wife Cheryl.
And when he dips her over the linoleum
like it was their first homecoming all over again,
ask him to put into words what that sinking is,
that shudder in his chest, as he notices
the wrinkles gathering at the corners of her mouth.
He'd rather tell you about the time they rode
the Tail of the Dragon the year after they'd married,
crossing Deals Gap at the Tennessee state line
on his '77 Triumph Silver Jubilee.
How they heard talk of a young couple
dying on that same stretch of road a week before,
and how hard she held onto him that day—
curve after potentially deadly curve.
Afterwards, in bed, she'll reach for the Virginia Slims
on the nightstand, and he'll open
the windows behind the headboard
as a summer breeze creeps past the lithesome curtains—
wild grass and honeysuckle mixing with the tobacco.
If the drone and flicker of a gathering storm should disrupt
the silence of the room, she'll tighten the wing nut
of her body behind his, so close that when her lips
brush against the nearly imperceptible hairs
on the back of his neck he'll be convinced
there is no other life but this.

Travis Mossotti

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"Crossing the Gap" by Travis Mossotti, from About the Dead.

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