Elegy for My Mother's Ex-Boyfriend
Let it be said that Tim's year was divided into two seasons: sneakers and flip-flops. Let us remember that Tim would sometimes throw a football with all the requisite grip, angle and spiral-talk. Let us recall that for the sake of what was left of appearances, my mother never once let him sleep in her bed; he snored all over our dog-chewed couch, and in the mornings when I tip-toed past him on my way to school, his jowls fat as a catcher's mitt, I never cracked an empty bottle across that space where his front teeth rotted out. Nor did I touch a struck match to that mole by his lip, whiskery dot that—he believed—made him irresistable to all lovelorn women. Still, let us remember sweetness: Tim lying face down, Mom popping the zits that dotted his broad, sun-spotted back, which, though obviously gross, gets the January photo in my personal wall calendar of what love should be, if such a calendar could still exist above my kitchen table junked up with the heretos and therefores from my last divorce. Let us not forget how my mother would slip into her red cocktail dress and Tim would say, "Your mother is beautiful," before getting up to go dance with someone else. In fairness, let me confess that I pedaled my ten-speed across the Leaf River bridge all the way to Tim's other woman's house and lay with that woman's daughter beside the moon- cold weight of the propane tank, dumb with liquor, numb to the fire ants that we spread our blanket over until I stopped for a second and looked up because I wondered if her mother could hear us, or if Tim might not have stood in the kitchen, maybe looked out the window and saw my white ass pumping in the moonlight, and whispered to himself, "That's my boy."
"Elegy for My Mother's Ex-Boyfriend" from Smote. Copyright © 2015 by James Kimbrell. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Sarabande Books, www.sarabandebooks.org.
James Kimbrell was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1967.
Date Published: 2016-01-28
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/elegy-my-mothers-ex-boyfriend