Before going to Murder by the Book, we stop at Zell’s
to split a German-Apple pancake. He
raises his cup; I don’t like to watch the
coffee struggle to remain within the rim.
Your mother never got over that you didn’t
marry and have children, he says.
I always ignore his declarations, hot forged
and barbed, imperfectly disguised harpoons.
Today, I am tired. Before he takes what’s
left, I scoop half the raspberry jam and say,
Well, I never got over it either. I wanted
kids who would ride farm ponies, tend
chickens – a mess of adopted kids.
The eggy pancake comes divided, on two
plates, each half with powdered sugar and
lemon, each stuffed with firm chunks of apple.
Why didn’t you get married? He acts as if
I could go to a spouse store. I’d like
to see your stock of tall farmers, indifferent
to color and culture, but not too Godly.
I say, I never found the right person.
He waves his fork. The bra-burners
did you no favor, con-fus-ing ev-er-y-thing.
You wanted independence, and being an
independent person is not a marriage.
Afternoons on the black pony, I had galloped
the barbed wire fence from one end of the farm
to the other. I’d rather be alone than trapped.