C. Wade Bentley

My Own


Remember that one every-other weekend
when we went to the Celtic Lesbian
Festival and got fried pierogi and a cup
of cider and then, in the silent
auction, a CD of Sammy Davis Jr.'s
greatest hits? And on the way to the car
how it started to rain but we both stopped
to listen when a woman inside
the old brick house with a claw-
footed tub on the porch began singing
to someone or no one in full voice
about how her lonely days were gone?
You were ten years old and what
did you know of lonely days, never
mind a thrill to press your cheek to,
but I could see you shivering, see
your sharp young collarbone as your
t-shirt soaked through, and because
it was long enough ago that I could
still carry you, you hopped on my back
and wrapped your arms around my neck
and then, my god, remember how we ran
as if we imagined life could be a song?




At some point during the night the milk turned,

though no one will be the wiser until breakfast. 

That bottle of wine, once worth more than your car,

might now offend some of your fine-palated guests,

who would detect the faintest bouquet of wet dog

from a cork gone bad.  And it's not just beverages,

as it turns out.  The homegrown terrorist sleeper cells

in your bloodstream, for instance, for so long

living quietly in quaint, suburban, bone marrow

bungalows, have now activated in order to surreptitiously

poison you while you take the kids to soccer practice

and think you might fancy your neighbor's wife. 

Some weeks later, another heated discussion will take place

inside the house while your son and daughter play

in the yard.  See how one is on the swing set, reaching

her toes to the sky, while the other races around the yard

with a T-rex soaring in his hand, yet to discover

how absurd it was to think they were meant to fly.

Wade Bentley lives and writes in Salt Lake City.  His poems have been published, or will soon appear, in Cimarron Review, Best New Poets, Western Humanities Review, Rattle, Subtropics, Chicago Quarterly Review, ARDOR, and Clapboard House, among others.  A chapbook of his poems, Askew, was recently published by Red Ochre Press.



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