Patterned Pipe Dreams of a Retired Square Dancer

Two stains roped together in his mind:
the uncertain footsteps of sleepwalkers
and the foggy memory
of his dead wife’s unwaxed lip.

It was Monday.

A record player engulfed with dust
sat in the center of the living room.
A collection of records was stacked
chronologically along the south wall,
everything reeked of subway stops.

     *

Today the world was different
and he was human like no one else.
To him love was something lying around
among vacuum cleaner parts at a yard sale.

     *

Lately, he moped through his three-room apartment
in nothing but a straw cowboy hat,
camouflage binoculars dangling from his neck.

The creased lines of his face were the unmarked alleys of his past
where Mondays were the scheduled square dance outings—
madness on linoleum checkered floors
and elderly women in thick eyeliner.

     *

In between songs he’d smile,
nod his head and adjust his cowboy hat.
Nothing mattered outside that moment.

     *

Before, he thought, all he would ever need
was a record player and a purdy woman.
Dust collected on his cowboy boots.

Another traffic jam was gluing together
on the freeway and the rotary club began to fill
with middle-aged cowboys and cowgirls.

It was Monday.



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