a timorous soul, trapped behind tortoise-shell glasses,
her home-sewn clothes never in style,
her only vividness a helmet of flame-red hair—
was the first among us to get married.
One Thursday eight months later her newlywed husband
dropped by after work on a gleaming Harley Super Glide
to see our new roommate, a honey-tongued blonde
who'd answered the ad we'd placed to cope with
our steep rent—
an old friend from way back, he explained
as she hopped on the bike behind him and clamped her hands
on his slender hips to take a spin around the block.
He's merely showing off his new toy, we thought. Men did that.
But the next Thursday the ride was longer, and reportedly faster,
wind whipping their hair as they careened through the hills.
And so it went. Our roommate denied it meant anything,
insisting a little harmless indulgence never hurt anyone.
But when she unwrapped her arms from his waist
and slung her leg off the bike, she always lingered
at the curb, the two talking long into the dinner hour.
Hearing the engine's slow throb, we would creep
into the living room and peer through the half-open blinds,
helpless as a Greek chorus, unable to avert our eyes
as if we were watching a scene from a forbidden movie,
one whose ending we knew we were not going to like.
Patricia L. Hamilton is a professor of English at Union
University in Jackson, TN. Her work has
recently appeared in Connecticut River
Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Illya's Honey, Big Muddy, and The Southern
Poetry Anthology: Tennessee. Her
first volume of poetry, The Distance to
Nightfall, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press. She has received two Pushcart