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by Lance Larsen

He drove a battered Desoto
and apologized for nothing.
He was married, no children,
though his wife was hopeful.                                                                                                     She had a lived-in look-
clean and comfortable, nothing frumpy.
On breaks when the boys and I talked
of the perfect woman,
a Helen smelling of saffron,
we were really thinking of Annie .
She didn’t have a Gucci smile
or French cut ears,
and her hair was much too quiet.
But her eyes-exuding passion
so wholesome we were embarrassed
to talk about it.
I yearned for someone like her
to tap my shoulder
and climb into my life.

When her husband died
we calculated how long we should wait,
took bets on who would get to her first.
Then she disappeared.                                                                                                                She came back married-
some Phil from Tucson                                                                                                         whom she met playing Bingo
at an Elks convention,
three kids in four years,
a job at the quarry for Phil,
their oldest son already looking like Adonis.
And though we are sure
she has stretch marks and scars
that crisscross her like rivers,
we still go home at night
and kneel on cold sheets, praying
for a miracle: a loose stone
to fall on Phil’s head.