Ronald Koertge



He was as hungry for love as I. He lay in his cave

or castle longing for the doctor's lovely nurse,

the archeologist's terrific assistant while I hid

in my bedroom, acne lighting up the gloom like

a stoplight, wondering if anybody anywhere would

ever marry me.


I war, hardly able to stay in my seat as the possibilities

were whittled away; her laughter at his clumsy gifts,

her terror  at his dumbness and rage, his final realization

synapses lazy as fly balls connecting at last as he

stands in the rain peering through her bedroom window

she in chiffon and dainty slingbacks he looking at

his butcher shop hands knowing he could never unsnap

a bra


and in comes Jock Mahoney or Steve Cochran and takes

everything off in a wink and she kisses him over

and over, wants to kiss him has been waiting to kiss

him while the monster feels his own lips big as eels

or can't find them at all or finds four.


I almost shouted into the dark that life with Jock

or Steve was almost something to be feared. Couldn't

she see herself in a year or two dying at a barbecue,

another profile nobody with his tongue in her ear?

Wouldn't she regret that she had not chosen to stay

with someone whose adoration was as gigantic as

his feet?


I went to the movies hoping that just once somebody

would see beneath the scales and stitches to the huge

borrowed heart and choose it, but each time Blob

was dissolved, Ogre subdued, Ratman trapped, Giant

Leech dislodged forever and each time Sweater Girl

ran sobbing into those predictable rolled up sleeves

I started to cry too, afraid for myself, lonely as

a leftover thumb.


"What's the matter with him?" the cheerleaders asked

the high scorers as they filed out.


"Nothing. He's weird, that's all."