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Good Legs
Linnea Johnson

Through sixteen Aprils she’s been keeping company with him.
Knew him before that. Known him best, she thought,
these four years in his eighties, visits him daily on good legs
with wine, meds, her stories, makeup, and groomed, dark hair,

him a continent of wet, trembly as an aspen
with Parkinson’s, elder fawn on glare ice, and still, she says,

he can cheat on her,
the other woman wanting him, it
coming out now what they’ve been to one another, wanting

to take him home with her, have him,
she says, the man’s kids calling, calling her frantic
what to do, what to do.

Says really she always knew even back forty years
when they were each married to other people,
couples-friends in the same church—a missed step,

the dilation of his pupil over a brandy
those days he could still drink, could still hold a glass,
could still pound it down, that amber
stilling the throat.

So she should let the other woman
have him, wet and shaky, she says,

it’s been a terrible week, when do we ever
have to put up with snow blanketing April like this.

But then she remembers, as do I
Easter snows, lilies wet with snow, as if we should have known,
and one May in a cloud of snow, vision occluded as if by a cataract,
she says, how things were when we had nothing like this to say.

changes, she says, treachery implicit in a blue sky,
in his snow blue eyes, always. Terrible weather. I should have
known better, when will I learn, she says,

snow, snow, and more false-hearted snow well into April,
frosting on the damn old cake, she says, wobbly men
changeless and abandoning, one go before another.

Cimarron Review
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