by Gail Rudd Entrekin
There you sit in the yellow bean bag
spit shining your black boots till they gleam.
You’ll line them up before you collapse
on the turquoise aquatic sheets, the water bed
rolling slowly toward me, sloshing away.
The lieutenant retires for the day. Taps.
When you are funny I love you:
when you do your El Medico accent,
appallingly offensive, or when you are Rock,
the punch drunk fighta from the Bronx
to my Esmeralda Robinowitz, which we do
deadpan for hours. Also when we have sex --
an activity we invented together and share
on the secret side of the blue beaded curtain --
there is love.
But Vietnam is coming, my formulaic
letters, your uninformative casual missives. Your hooch maid,
your VD quarantine (which, when I’m finally told,
I will not mind, having myself slept with an old lover.)
You will arrive in uniform, my dad’s welcoming banner
above the porch, and we will not know each other.
Dusty hot days I will sit in front of the window cooler
and cry. You will call me fat, make fun of me
for eating in front of friends, in private
call me Soldier, issue orders and commands
while you lie back smoking pot, plastic cookie
wrap and soda cans around you on the rug.
And it will all unravel, go to dust, come down
to a few photos in a shoe box on a high shelf.
how nothing we believe
will turn out to be true.
* * * * *
Gail Rudd Entrekin is Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press and Editor of the online environmental literary magazine, Canary (www.canarylitmag.org). She is Editor of the poetry anthology Yuba Flows (2007) and the poetry & short fiction anthology Sierra Songs & Descants: Poetry & Prose of the Sierra (2002).
Her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and Southern Poetry Review, were finalists for the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry from Nimrod International Journal in 2011, and won the Women’s National Book Association Award in 2016.
Entrekin taught poetry and English literature at California colleges for 25 years. Her books of poetry include The Art of Healing (with Charles Entrekin) (Poetic Matrix Press 2016); Rearrangement of the Invisible, (Poetic Matrix Press, 2012); Change (Will Do You Good) (Poetic Matrix Press, 2005), which was nominated for a Northern California Book Award; You Notice the Body (Hip Pocket Press, 1998); and John Danced (Berkeley Poets Workshop & Press, 1983). She and her husband, poet and novelist Charles Entrekin, live in the hills of San Francisco’s East Bay.