Size / / /

He's not here at the moment.
He took the car to the garage
to have the shocks replaced.

He'll be back within the hour,
after he picks up Peg from preschool
and mails a couple bills.

I don't know what I'd do without him,
or what life was like before the crash,
before he walked out of the tall grass,

his right arm burned from the wreck,
thick folds of neck skin still smoking,
and began waxing the sedan.

Terrified, we watched him work,
and after he chopped a load of firewood,
cleaned the gutters, and mowed the lawn,

we invited him in for a bowl of popcorn.
He had stopped smoking then but still smelled,
a bitter scent like scorched beans.

We drank pop and watched movies till midnight.
He hated "Out of Africa" but loved "Titanic,"
curling his gray tail around his hips.

My son Danny took him to his bedroom
and popped a balloon in his long thin face,
the way a five year old says, "You're neat!"

My daughter rode his scaly back to bed,
holding her nose but having a marvelous time,
singing "Bony Marony" while playing spoons.

In the morning he walked down over the hill,
picked up what was left of his personal items,
a large metal box and a charred black coat.

Later he pored over my unbalanced checkbook,
while staring coldly at my ex-husband's picture,
and then ran some dishwater.


Copyright © 2004 Thomas D. Reynolds

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Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University and currently teaches at Johnson County Community College. Although he is a science fiction fan, most of his writing combines his interests in history, folklore, Midwestern life, and poetry. Ligature Press published a chapbook of his poetry titled Electricity in 1987. Publications which have accepted his work include the following: Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, Alabama Literary Review, New Delta Review, The MacGuffin, The Cape Rock, Potpourri, American Western Magazine, Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine, Prairie Poetry, Capper's, Tryst, The Green Tricycle, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Ariga, and Sidereality.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, American Western Magazine, Combat, The MacGuffin, and Midwest Poetry Review. His poem "How to Survive On a Distant Planet," previously published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Rhysling Award in the short poem category. You can send Thomas email at
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