Roger Pfingston



They took a sidewalk table

on the other side of the glass

where she sat in profile,

one exquisite leg crossed over

the other, summer heel

dangling, dancing as she

gently rocked her bare foot,

the up beat flashing red nails,

and then someone said my name

at our table of six and my wife,

eyebrows raised, pointed

to the waiter:  Stella Artois

in a chilled glass, please.


And so it went for most

of an hour of salad and gumbo,

crème brûlée and coffee,

my rapt eyes thieving under

the table where her skin glowed

against the blur of passers-by.

When the waiter asked if that

would be all, I hardly knew what

to say, thinking, as I nodded yes,

I’m not sure . . . let’s wait and see.





1945. Eileen, Richard's mother, arrives home in a cab on a Sunday morning, gets out drunk, can't get her key in the door, or maybe Richard's grandma won't let her in again, so she goes back to the rock driveway between our houses, squats with her dress hiked up and pees as my parents watch from the window. Me too in between the two of them as they try to push me back. A gush of urine like I've never seen before. She has trouble getting her pants up. My mother, gasping at the sight of it, cries out my dad's name with a question mark and closes the curtains. I try to peek through the opening but my mother drags me away and tells me to go to my room until I'm told I can come out. In the excitement she has forgotten that my room is on the driveway side of the house, so with the door closed I sit on the edge of my bed and watch through the blinds as Eileen struggles to get her pants up. She finally leans against the house and steps out of them, then weaves her way back to the front door holding the key out in front of her, aimed and ready. That night at the dinner table my mother tells me again how sorry we are about Richard's dad and how lucky I am, then she says I can't play with Richard anymore but I can have a second helping of bread pudding.


Roger Pfingston’s poems have appeared recently in Dos Passos Review, Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Sylvan Echo, Poetry Midwest, DMQ Review, and Mannequin Envy. As a photographer, he has photographs in recent issues of The Sun and Tattoo Highway.



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