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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
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.