The cactus flower bloomed the night she called.
“I’m going to Italy,” said Marianne.
“For how long?” asked Jack.
“I don’t know.”
“I always wanted to go there,” said Jack, hoping for an invitation.
“I need some time away.”
“That’s a good place to paint.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“What happens to us?”
“I love you, I’ll always love you…”
“That sounds kind of final…” said Jack,
realizing for the first time it was over.
He winced and threw a Hail Mary.
“Marianne, they know. Someone dropped a dime on us.”
Jack met Eve in the driveway.
She was sitting in her black Honda Fit.
She had just washed it.
You could barely see the dents from the last accident.
“Do you think they’ll repo my car?” She asked, mildly panicked.
“What do you mean?”
“They put this on the front door of the house.” She said, showing him a letter that was crumpled from her anxiety.
“How far behind are you?”
“It’s not my fault, I had the accident and I couldn’t Uber for three weeks.”
“How far behind?”
“I don’t know, maybe a month and a half. It’s not like I’m not trying.”
“Why don’t you call them? You can work something out.”
“Fuck them, I’m not calling them. No way.”
Jack didn’t reply. She was his daughter and what’s he going to say?
There were stains on his jacket, coffee or wine. They had been there so long he didn’t see them anymore.
“Happy Father’s Day, Dad.” Eve said.
She handed him a bouquet of yellow and red flowers. Sunflowers, zinnias and some carnations.
“Read the card, it’s funny.”
Jack opened the envelope and read it and laughed.
“Yes, you do.” He said remarking on something she had written. It was well after three in the afternoon. He had made himself pancakes and poached eggs in the morning to celebrate, alone.
This used to be a day like his birthday where there was some overture to make him feel loved. But since the marriage had ended, he had to make do on his own.
Eve came through in the end and miracle of miracles also did the dishes.
There is a God.
A rustling in the nasturtium,
hoping to make a run to the wood pile.
Tommy could smell him from the porch,
lunging into the air like a high jumper.
Over and over and over again.
“He’s killed three of them so far,
his breed is bred to hunt rats, you know.”
“They aren’t rats.” said Meta Jane.
“It’s not right, they’re no match for him.”
“He’s earning his keep, saving the garden.”
She stopped talking,
not wanting to dignify that last comment.
Fidgeted and ran her fingers
gently across her forehead.
She really needed that ASMR video
almost craved it.
Was that supposed to be a joke?
A pool of shoe fish
swimming around the closet floor.
No one is in control,
it’s absolute anarchy.
The Levy sneakers were a gift.
Jack wore them once
to his uncle’s retirement party.
Felt like he was cheating
on his Chuck Taylors.
He retired them after that.
he picked thirteen fleas
off of the insect.
cute in the extreme,
lunging at the cats,
like they were missiles.
“I think I’m depressed.” Jack said.
“We’re all depressed,” said Ruth, “Man up.”
“Which tie should I wear?”
“The one with the sperm design.”
“Ha ha. It’s Art Deco.”
“It is. It’s vintage, this tie was
actually worn in the nineteen forties.”
“It was not, silk doesn’t last that long.”
“It’s not silk. It’s Belgian polyester.”
“That’s not a real thing, you’re such a liar.”
“From Belgium, post war polyester.
They make outfits for sex dolls out of it now.”
“They do not. Art Deco?”
“Are you sure you don’t mean Art Dildo?”
Spring, but it was hot.
Like mid-July heat.
The two dogs wanted inside.
Tommy, the Jack Russell,
was clever enough
to open the screen door himself.
He chose, instead,
to ooze desperation and
the threat of heat stroke.
In the cage was the insect,
a little Pom mix that’s
a tad bit inbred.
Basically, a canine gnat.
Constant jumping, biting
Jack was reluctant
to let either of them in.
“It’ll be cool any minute,
the sun’s going down.
And they’ve got water.”
he reasoned to himself.
“You can’t give in and spoil them,
they’ll walk all over you if you do.”
It was an open secret
and Jack just plain hated him.
Ruth, his mother,
was still waiting for the divorce
to be finalized
and Mr. Smarmy Pants
was already circling.
He had a pointed face that
arrived at his nose
and made him look like a rat.
He offered to give Jack and his buddy
a ride to the train station
in his little red sports car.
There was barely enough room for two
in the front and Jack had to squeeze
in behind the seats.
He wanted so badly to reach around
and poke his eyes out.
“Going to the Casino tonight”
the rat said, “I’m feeling lucky.”
“A hard-on is not chemistry”, Cynthia said,
Hands on hips.
“Damn it!” he thought.
“So close and she has to get all
“You’re right, baby.” he said apologetically.
“Don’t ‘you’re right baby’, me.”
“I’m driving you home.” she said.
Somehow she hit every green light
on the avenue.
Jack couldn’t catch a break.
God works in mysterious ways.
Rashes, sores and pestilence.
How people love to make him responsible
for all manner of random.
Then search for the meaning why.
Was it retribution or reward?
A death in the family,
the whole block burned but their house was spared.
The tree was struck by lightning and the sap exploded
sending shrapnel towards the house.
In the window was their coat of arms
it took a direct hit and smashed to pieces.
They’re cursed now for a whole generation.