he wishes he had met them earlier

he wishes he had met them earlier
(before the proposal, to be exact)
or never

at the reception
his new in-laws want to out-boor one another
not bad enough in itself
except that there’s something in Tess to understatedly ape each one of them

her cute hip-wriggling walk recalls
her fat mother’s caboose
always about to wobble off the tracks

she got her talent for draining a glass quickly
from the father who puts down pitchers of beer
his Adam’s apple utterly becalmed

her vigorous finger shake at anything she disapproves
is a gentler version of her brother’s cyclopean fist
raised more than once that night

the clock strikes the hour when he and Tess are due to leave
she looks up into his face and smiles
the same smile he remembers from her uncle’s face
when the man ate half a layer of the wedding cake, not stopping for breath

in self-defense
his scrotum draws into a compacted knot

Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California. He has published 100 short stories, 200 poems and one novel, Vow of Silence. His website is at http://www.pw.org/content/robert_laughlin.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.