Hot Night with Aunt Coy

By Krista Halverson

Aunt Coy says if she got the job
there'd have been four to six minutes between
the tour bus and the back-stage door.
She timed it, judging his stride as just wider than hers,
which was the way she figured it.
Niel Diamond, she says. Just his name,

then a sigh because I still don't understand the rules
or Pinochle. She deals an arc
of cards and shuffles them back into her hands
like a gift to herself. This game is all hers,

she says, all hers. It hadn't worked out
for Coy -- something about her not being able to lift
one hunderd pounds. Doesn't take that much
to match two shoes, she says,
or powder a nose -- even Neil's nose, which is
no amll thing. What a jewel
of a summer job. Off-stage Manager's
Assistant. All of a sudden
she drops her cards
and throws up her arms, like she's looking
for a tattoo. She's held a lot
with them, she says. A thousand pounds of babies, for

one thing. I do think they look weak next
to her broad hips -- like sprouts from a bulb.
But they're stong as screwdrivers.

This night Coy dreams it
all over. Neil's teeth cleam in one welded
white arc, like an oracle. And her dead husband sings 
back-up. In her mind Scott is altogether
how he looked at the Diamond concert
when they went together in '81. Coy could see him
perfectly,
down to the way his lips spread around a grin
that showed his own bridge of teeth
like a contoloupe rind.

She is up at two this morning. I hear 
her turn over Neil's record several times. Long enough
to hear every scratch on every ballad
through the wall.