Ron Slate

It Was A 3.8
August 8, 2013 Slate Ron

It Was A 3.8

 

My mother said go get me a plum.

When I got to the fridge, she said

and some almonds.

 

In the cabinet, the air-tight calm

of a canned baby ham.

 

My grandmother lost a forefinger

while slicing onions!  No you silly,

she got an infection.  The headache

unsteadied her hand, the knife slipped.

A tumor in her skull the size of an onion.

 

Next, twelve years old, we were shooting

straight pool at the bowladrome.

The eight ball lived a separate life,

Joey and Mark said no matter what

they won’t obey Father Byrne anymore.

 

Go get me a cigarette, she said,

and some chocolate.

 

Joey said, Yeah, I’ll tell you what it tastes like.

It tastes like my mother’s pork leftovers

rotting in the garbage for a week.

 

There was an earthquake but I didn’t feel it.

 

The catalpa must have died last fall,

or over the winter, or just an hour ago,

or just a second ago.  Grind up the stump,

plant a spindly dogwood.

 

Lying in bed, transistor under my pillow,

the countdown to number one.

Take good care of my baby,

if I’d been true I know she’d never be with you.

But how could he do that to her?  How can he sing?

 

Then came the after-tremor.

 

Ron Slate’s poetry collections are The Incentive of the Maggot and The Great Wave. He reviews poetry and other genres at “On the Seawall: A Book Review” on ronslate.com.