Long as a Quart of Milk

Kevin Pilkington

Once I undressed a tree,
got a splinter in my thumb
and decided that was it
for one night stands.

The woman next door who
dresses in clothes that make her
look like the English countryside
keeps yelling at her son
about being spoiled.

I wish I could help him,
tell her of course he’s spoiled
it’s hot out so she should keep
him in a room with the a.c. on.
It would keep him fresh longer
or at least as long as a quart of milk.

I rent a small studio in the tenement building
next door that looks like Lou Reed.
I’ve lived here for awhile and have no plans
of moving. There really isn’t any point now
that I know this neighborhood so well I can
recite any street by heart to anyone
who will listen.
 

More by Kevin Pilkington

Pomegranate

A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on
with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,
stops and asks if I would like to dance.
I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide
on a waltz that she begins to hum.

We spin and sway across the street in between
parked cars and I can tell she realizes
she chose a man who understands the rhythm
of sand, the boundaries of thought. We glide
and Fred and Ginger might come to mind or
a breeze filled with the scent of flowers of your choice.
Coffee stops flowing as a waitress stares out the window
of a diner while I lead my partner back across the street.

When we come to the end of our dance,
we compliment each other and to repay the favor
I tell her to be careful since the world comes to an end
three blocks to the east of where we stand. Then
I remind her as long as there is a ’59 Cadillac parked
somewhere in a backyard between here and Boise
she will dance again.

As she leaves content with her dog, its tail wagging
like gossip, I am convinced now more than ever
that I once held hundreds of roses in my hands
the first time I cut open a pomegranate.