Poetry by William Haine

When I was seventeen
I had sparse sideburns, brand new shirts,
and too much cologne.
I slept with girls because it had to happen.
At eighteen I got naked at parties
because there was nothing left to talk about,
only things that were frightening to say.

But today I wash dishes in the nude singing
along with Bette Midler, soap splashing against my chest.
I am washing dishes so the kitchen will be clean
when you get home. You’ve been at work all day.
I want to make all of the countertops shine.
I am your superhero suitor stuntman,
your lady in waiting. I can see my muscles strain and tighten,
scrubbing out the mess. I have already picked up potatoes,
milk, vodka, and broccoli.

If I open my eyes wide enough, awe is all around me.
It shines in the gold leaf of Guadalupe candles from
the Latino Foods section of the grocery store.
It is huge steam clouds from boiling potatoes and blowback
suds that splash out of the sink full of dishes.
I am tired of being told life is getting worse, that
the whole mess is a disappointment. I am going to
tell you all about my big day.

Before you get home I am going to write letters
to women who I knew somewhere else, to say
“I hope you have not yet given up on man. I have not.”
When you get home, smelling like compost, insecticide
and sawdust, I am going to grab your shirt
and kiss you before you have the chance to say anything.

wmhaine-pic William Haine lives and writes music and poetry in Portland, OR. He is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College. He sings and plays guitar in Towering Trees. His work has also been featured in The Puritan}

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