The toilet keeps backing up and I’m tired
of thrusting the splintered plunger up and down,
tired of coaxing the noxious water to flow
again, tired of the suction, the waste.
Then I’m 17, on my knees, retching
vodka and OJ into Johnny Romano’s turquoise toilet
His thin-lipped mother comes home,
calls me trash, shrieks Get out! Get out!
I loved that skinny, dark-haired Lothario.
I sang Johnny Angel over and over.
I think of this as I plunge–
press, release, press, release, up and down,
up and down. Our brittle, little romance
fractured into such tender pain,
I belted out The End of the World
just like Skeeter Davis
wondering why the sun went on shining,
why the sea rushed to shore,
since her man didn’t love her anymore.
Irene Fick’s second poetry collection, The Wild Side of the Window (Main Street Rag), received the first place award from the National Federation of Press Women as did her first, The Stories We Tell (The Broadkill Press). Her poems have been published in such journals as Gargoyle, Poet Lore, The Broadkill Review, and Philadelphia Stories. She lives in Lewes, Delaware.