The sad man slouched down folding up
until his chin came to rest,
and rested, on his knees—
where they’d been, laced
atop his head because he was crying.
The woman he loved moved her hands from her hips
and used their heels to press deep
into the sockets of her eyes, and said,
“Why don’t you ever … ”
“Why must you always … ”
The sad man swayed side to side,
too far and tumbled, banged
his head hard against the edge
of a coffee table, upsetting
a vase of daisies.
The woman he loved—it was a race against time—sped
to the kitchen for paper towel.
The sad man righted himself and apologized.
The woman he loved wiped the table.
“This will leave a mark
even if you can’t see it.”
A Phone Conversation
There was a phone book attached to a wire cord.
The sad man opened it and paged through until he found a column
with his last name, touched it with a finger, and moved the finger
down until he came to
The Sad Man and The Woman He Loved.
He dropped a quarter into the slot. It hit the bell
on the way down, assuring him that everything
was fine. But then the dial tone was a dead person
on a heart monitor. He looked at the number again
and touched the appropriate pads in correct sequence.
The ringing was like a baby crying.
The woman he loved picked up.
“Woman I love, is that you?”
“Yes, sad man.”
“You said I could call.”
“And you did.”
“Did you see the eclipse?”
“I saw it in the paper.”
“It was right outside my window.”
“You have a phone?”
“I’m at a restaurant. I dipped rye toast with grape jelly in the egg yolk.”
“You like doing that.”
“Do you miss me?”
Dan Nielsen has always lived and will eventually die somewhere in Wisconsin. He manages an art gallery: Gallery B4S, and is involved with the reading series: Bonk! He was most active in the early ‘90s when everything was paper and staples and SASEs. His work has appeared in places you’ve never heard of as well as Exquisite Corpse, Wormwood Review, Chiron Review, and other of the larger smalls from late last century. Dan Nielsen has also published work in these books: Selected Poems of Post-Beat Poets, Stand up Poetry: The Extended Anthology, and Created Writing: Poetry from New Angles.
Copyright © 2011 by Dan Nielsen