How He Took That Bit of Advice by Jonathan Bracker

“I don’t think you ought to write poems,
Not if you want to get ahead,
About your homosexuality”
She calmly states, almost wholly at ease
With the early-middle-aged college buddy
Come for his annual visit.

In the sprawling living room, cats resting or coming in,
Matissed in shorts and sleeveless shirt at one end of the sofa
She smiles at him her boyish smile.
Cashews and sherry are on the pulled-near coffee table.
Outside the picture window,
Excluded by drawn-close thick white curtains,

Fine reaching trees do nothing about anything
This Missouri dog-day subsiding afternoon.
Air-conditioner rumble occasionally butts in.
At his end of the long sofa against piled soft cushions
He sees the toes of her naked feet
Close to his trousered thigh–though really

This does not bother him, not that much.
But her remark he objects to,
Silently. His heartbeats had flustered when she said it.
Yet, anticipating dinner coming up
(His friend can really cook) and the company of husband
And nice children in their twenties, visitor recalls

Her advice as one opinion
She has given him before.
As he waits for roast chicken, small potatoes from the farmer’s market,
Fresh peas–not frozen ones–poet-friend is pleased to notice
One chuckling fact: the rhythm of “about your homosexuality”
Is pentameter. It is iambic too.

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