Kalyna Review

Michael Estabrook

Fire

 

I’m new in the shop

where they manufacture metal parts and fixtures

end of the day time to go

I make sure the back door is locked

check some windows

flip switches to turn out the lights

but one switch closes only halfway

and suddenly fire bursts out

in the far corner

of the back basement the flames leaping

and clawing at the air

but there is no smoke just flames.

I quickly close the switch all the way

but the fire rages on

but only in that one corner

no wood burning or people getting hurt

I pull the alarm

co-workers appear immediately

seemingly popping out of the walls

concerned, more annoyed, not panicked

frowning in my direction

the new guy fucking-up as usual

everyone staring at the fire

from the edge of the basement

until a woman officer shows up

tall, short hair, sharply dressed

removes something from a cabinet

descends the stairs

to go put out the fire

and she’s frowning at me too

Time Travel

 

Where has all

the time gone in his life

one moment

he’s walking his girl

to her math class

next he’s doing the after-dinner dishes

so her new nail polish

won’t get spoiled

one moment

all he can think about

is kissing her

next he’s waiting two hours

in the Orthodontics office

while she gets a root canal

one moment

he’s obsessing if she’ll really spend

her life with him

next he’s reliving their first date

first kiss, their first “I love you”

over and over

and over again in his mind.

 

Another Quarrel

 

Minding my own business

reading David Markson’s This

Is Not A Novel

in bed

when for some

reason looking beyond the vastness

that is my belly

I notice the lamp

hanging on the wall across the room

a dusty dull off-white shade contrasted

against this repetitive

bile-green flowerish pattern

leaves and sticks, begonias and whatnot

and I realize it’s an ugly lamp

and I hate it.

 

Who bought that lamp?

My wife did you moron, you know that.

 

Oh yeah, guess there’s nothing we can do about it then.

No, nothing, you know that.

 

Cluck, cluck, cluck.

You can cluck, cluck, cluck all you damn want

but the lamp stays, it’s a fine lamp.

 

OK then, what about that bilious blubbery belly of yours

can we at least do crunches or leg raises

or something, a diet perhaps

to get that hideous eyesore into a more manageable state.

 

Oh for crying out loud shut the hell up!

Susan

 

She never said a word

not one word

to me in high school

 

but I never expected

her to why would she have she

was stunning – beautiful and confident

 

athletic and popular

with her blonde hair and tight

unstoppable teenage body

 

so when I received a Facebook “Friend Request”

from her I hit the “Accept” button so fast

I almost fell off my chair!

 

And yet I still had the audacity

to expect her to respond

to the dopey note I sent her:

 

“I just had to say hi

now that we are ‘friends’ on FB,

how are you?”

 

Of course she never responded

how could she, no of course she couldn’t

reminding me that even after 50 years

 

some things never change

without upsetting life’s delicate balance

reminding me that I should have remained

 

tongue-tied and awestruck, content

with my humble place

within the universe’s unimpeachable physics

and oddly I am.

 

About the author

 

Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby boomer 'child-of-the-sixties' poet freed finally after working 40 years for “The Man” and sometimes “The Woman.” No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he’s able to devote serious time to making better poems when he’s not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.