Love's labors lost.


Of course,
she is late.
It's the way of the world --
Minutes pass as a dirge
upon my heart.
The grace period
is hopeful wallowing
in a bed of thorns.
I will leave soon.
The second hand
migrates across the face
of the clock;
I sigh.
There she is,
materializing in congealing
pixels to be recognized,
thick red hair as in her pic,
tall, unmistakable, marching
with a shade of goose step,
attractive in the rough.
She approaches
with a purposeful gait,
as a devoted Hitler Jugend
to knock me down.
"So you're Pete."
She spits my name.
I feel drenched
with derision.
I spread my arms
She steps closer
I grasp her shoulders,
squeezing her strong
"You're a sight for sore eyes."
I say as all misgivings
vanish before the avalanche
of joy roaring through me;
love requited
at 70.
A smile ghosts her face.
The eyes see
as a lizard.
We sit down in the Food Court,
not having coffee.
We remove masks.
She speaks.
"COVID survivors suffer after effects.
Aneurisms, irregular heart beat."
"I am realizing this thing is real."
"I am sheltering my parents."
"I m making fajitas for them tonight."
"Can I come over."
Quick grin.
"You asked me what caught my eye."
Quick grin.
"What caught yours?"
"You read my profile.
Other guys
just come on.
They are far away. Forida.
I turn them down.
"So the adventures you spoke of?"
"I want to see the Grand Canyon
and take a cruise to Alaska."
"We can do those."
Deafening silence.
Her face is a frozen sculpture
that I terribly want to kiss.
"I am building a retaining wall.
I think I'll get gravel for it."
"You could use those yard timbers,
the four by fours. Stick rebar
through 'em."
"Oh no. This is permanent."
"Well, you can get ten years.
Cheap, easy."
"Oh no."
She yawns.
"So you will never retire." She says.
"No," I say.
"No. I'll be building empires when I'm 90."
I am prideful.
She stares.
Did I just drive a stake through her heart?"
A bridge was crossed.
"My neighbor retired,
went to check on his rooster
and never returned."
"I ate apples for a few
weeks then took a cruise to Rome."
"Oh." She nods, impressed.
"So what sort of work do you do?" I say.
"I am a teacher."
"Oh really, I caught that bug once.
I substituted in middle school,
a buzz developed in the class
as I proctored homework.
The principal walked in and gave
a terrifying stare.
Everybody clammed up."
"It's the teacher look. I'm good at it."
"I dropped teaching.
I would have these fits
of depression. They just
came on.
I yearned for
a more fertile life
you might say."
"They are desperate for substitutes now."
"Really? But you need a license."
"It was required last time I checked."
"Things changed. Just get a background check."
"Hey! I can get back into teaching!"
Deafening silence.
She yawns.
"Want to go see a movie?"
She checks her phone efficiently,
too efficiently.
"The theater has been closed due to COVID."
She puts the phone away.
"Shall we do some window shopping?"
She shakes her head."
My eyes do a subtle sweep of
her statuesque body with the strong legs.
"Well here's something we can do," I say
and stand up.
She sees me coming and laughs,
her eyes lighting up in what?
I put my arm
around her shoulders and draw her close.
She has an impulse to put her head
on my shoulder and then retracts.
I hold her loosely.
"Shall we get together on weekends?"
She nods quickly in agreement.
"Oh that sounds so good."
I grasp her tight and release her.
"Is there a bicycle trail around here?"
"Mmm hmm."
"We could take a picknick lunch
with a bottle of wine
on a bike ride."
I am consumed with joy
at 70.
I feel her body in my hand
I want all of it.
"I'm going to move in with my parents."
"So you're --"
"My mother falls."
It's bright outside.
I hold my improbable treasure,
not too tight.
"Well, I suppose I should go cook now."
"So you want my phone number then?"
She affects purpose,
pulling out her phone.
I dictate the number and she
punches large numbers
into a digital graveyard it seems.
She puts away the phone.
"Ready?" She asks.
We get up and stroll outside.
It is cold.
She tucks her hands into her coat.
I study her as she walks with me.
"You are a very delicious looking package," I say.
She laughs in true amusement.
"And the shoes. They are to die for."
"Ha ha!"
Shoes can make a woman.
She's slutty in slacks.
I make motions as if
to hold her waist.
She shys away.
I smile in a happy moment.
I point out my little car.
We stop.
We negotiate with
body language and
walk on.
This is my car," she says.
We stand before an SUV
I move toward her for an embrace.
She moves forward and I hold
her strong body tight.
She buries her face in my shoulder
offering a cheek.
"Damn you!" I want to say.
I kiss
the continent of a cheek
three times.
"I'll call you." She says.
"You don't lie very well," I want to say.
A curtain falls on

I visit the casino.
I am expert at rolling dice
not so much with people.
I toss $200 on the table for chips.
I point the four, buy the six and eight.
Conventional bet.
I win the point,
buy all the numbers and go up three hundred.
I know I lost her.
A guy is control shooting fields,
I go all in on the field.
I win. Up $600.
Everything whirls into a tornado,
a hollow niche,
at home with money.
I think of those shoes, the slacks,
the sharp features.
The gambler's instinct
speaks to me.
I never had her.
I divorce myself of my chips,
with a heartless bet
losing the stack.

I check social media the next day.
Nothing from her. So I write.
"I decided it would not do any harm
to tell you I love you.
I love you."
Another day passes and she visits
my profile. Good.
I get a note the next day.
"Things are not going to work out with us. But
it was nice meeting you and spending time with
you at the mall."
"You are so blind to our relationship. But what
was it that offended you?
"You fell in love too fast."
Penultimate crime.
I can't let her go.
I launch a diatribe
arguing with a woman;
a losing bet.
I am eloquent.
"We should meet and talk again."
"No thanks."
My hands poise over the key board
to give her hell.
"God bless you."
I am convinced she will miss me
and send me a note.
Gambler's instinct.
"She will write," I say to the wind.
Weeks go by.
I have a visitor,
avatar with a name.

Poetry by Peter J. Kautsky
Read 294 times
Written on 2021-06-24 at 14:59

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Griffonner The PoetBay support member heart!
Long it may be, but intriguing and enjoying to read. Thank you for sharing. Michelle would have been a fool!

Steven Riddle
Reminiscent of Prevert’s “Déjeuner de Matin” Sleek, supple. Normally I am not a fan of long poems, but I found this one compelling and lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us.