Glad to be of Service

Dirty laundry, decaying newspapers,
Chinese take-out boxes, and stained sheets.
Plates stacked under the bed, glasses perched on the nearby table
teetering, waiting to tip and spill and tumble and crunch into the floorboards
“Don’t take them off,” she tells me.
She means my shoes,
and I take her advice.

We slide into bed,
cocoon inside the mess,
and push the trash against the wall.
There’s something poking sharply into my back –
a self-improvement book. “Stupid,” I think.
She takes off her skirt and her blouse and her bra
and drops her panties down past her knees and around the
rainbow painted hiking boots still laced and snug around her little feet.

She smells like cigarettes and magazine perfume and curry, but her lips are soft
and her eyes smile and dance and I can see my own goofy
face staring back: a dirty beard, sunken eyes, greasy hair
and a foolish grin and reasonably straight
whitish-yellow teeth that chatter incessantly
when I’m nervous or when I’m trying
to impress someone.
(They often chatter.)

She lays on my chest
and twists her fingers
through my tangled brown locks,
whispering in my ear about the incredibly
dirty, disgusting, and marvelous things she will do to me.
Her fingers tip toe the contours of my body raising goosebumps
and removing my shirt and, after some difficulty, my jeans and my underwear.
Her tongue slits in and out, a serpentine slither across my chest,
a moist trail left behind.

Two small breasts leap in unison as she rocks on top:
eyes to the sky, hands clawing the bed,
spit sweating and sweat spitting and screams spilling
from the room and out the window and out the building and into
the ears of the Chinese family sitting for dinner two floors down
with red faces and giggles from the twin 16-year-old boys and a
stern frozen countenance from Father and an oblivious
conversation about springtime flowers from Mother.

And she rides and rides and rides.
“I’m close, I’m close, I’m close,” I gasp.
She grabs the self-help book and
smashes my skull – THUNK – two handed and certain of target
And still she rides and rides and rides.

I’m dazed.
My head splits like a cantaloupe.
Two halves smooshed and oozing and certain to attract the fruit flies.
There’s a volcano somewhere behind my forehead,
the lava flows in spurts, stinging, salty from my eyeballs.
A kindergarten marching band joyously
imitating an avalanche, the parents grimace
at each other, trying to focus on last night’s football game
or their favorite tv show or the latest problem at work
or the chance of an asteroid colliding into the field and freeing
them from all the Devil’s Cacophony.

She grabs something from the table, a pill, medicine, drug, here’s water – drink.
I sink into the bed, down, down, down, deeper and deeper,
swallowed into her cocoon.
Paralyzed in her grasp,
lost in her embrace.

My head screams, my head bleeds,
the water rolls, the kettle boils,
The whistle pierces, the Lioness roars:
explosion, toes curl, fingers stretch, body shakes.
Woozy and exhausted, stares into my eyes
Thanks me, calls me “Fred.”
My name isn’t Fred.

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