"Lipstick hater, mascara hater, brewer of foul-
Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series
Need to Know
14: The Double Issue
13: Free Form
12: The Necessary Ear
11: The Necessary Eye
Issue 10: Out on a Limb
Issue 9: The Missing Body
Issue 8: The Lily
Issue 7: Passages
Issue 6: No More Tears
From day one the goat despised me. Apparent
in her backward lunge, her horizontal scrutiny.
The rooster, cat and dog merely indifferent,
all slurping from the same enormous bowl;
the mother just north of aloof. You are a bit
too glamorous for my son, she often said.
Lipstick hater, mascara hater, brewer of foul-
smelling teas. And the curse of the cabin, itself
an organic, growing thing, drafts stuffed with dirty straw.
No one dared mention why it was worth
the goat's feed and wrath when cheese was as natural
and local down the street at the Red Owl store.
No one asked what were the little black flecks
in the honeycomb where bees' legs had stuck,
why the homemade wheat pasta quivered, glutinous,
under the wormy tomatoes. And nobody switched the station
from NPR, not even when folkies screeched whaling songs,
so powerful was the charm of a non-smoking man
who could cook and grow herbs and build cabins
and love his mother. Could make his own ice cream,
croon in Norwegian with ancient wives as he led them
gently around on the VFW dancefloor, princely in
coveralls. No wonder I was hollow-eyed starved
when you found me, your promise of vodka and cheetos
and rock and roll! How willingly I leapt into your leather
seats, inhaled the bouquet of smoke and air conditioning.
How delighted those nights you surprised me with Mrs. Paul's
and tater tots, baked at 350 upon our return from Best Western's
Happy Hour. Battered and golden, abundant with greases
and salts! How grateful I was to be even your second
choice, slopping that feast with ketchup and tartar,
forgiving the tiny crystals of ice at the core of each scalding bite.