Happy as a Clam
They say you get used to
forgetting what you’ve forgotten
feeling something spreading ear to ear
and hoping it’s not fatal.
Maybe your teeth are clamped shut
to keep from filling the room with moans
and they mistake rictus for joy.
When she called ten or so years after we parted
I tried to reminisce about how I dumped her
and she said you mean how I dumped you
and I realized that young as I was
I could no longer trust any of my memories
so I nodded and she assumed
I’d hung up so she hung up
and I knew that it might have been
just a wrong number
and I couldn’t be sure I even had a phone.
You say sometimes it’s too on the nose
and sometimes it drips off the chin.
Oh a metaphor I say
but I’m saving my allowance
for a Schwinn that’s a Schwinn that’s a Schwinn.
After all racing towards the finish line
similes don’t feel like wind whipping through my hair.
I’m trying to find my way back to the clam
but I seem to have gotten my head
stuck in a sleeve hole
and I’m going to push on through
till I see the light.
Wisteria With Kayak
On a memory-shrouded Puget Sound island
draped in wisteria she looks back over her shoulder
flashes her devil-may-care chipped front tooth
and tells me that together we’re going to haul
this damned kayak up the sheer cliff face
and that finally I’ll understand
what a near death experience is.
I chant Old Church Slavonic all the way up
count all of her chickens
before they’ve hatched
and wonder about my guardian angel.
He’s threadbare after so many lifetimes
and I should trade him in
on a shiny new cherub or seraph,
young enough to get off his ass when I need him.
When she asks how I’m doing
I wheeze that I’m dying,
but then aren’t we all.
I lean down and buff up my patent leather pumps
with my frayed lace sleeve.
Rick Adang was born in Buffalo, New York and graduated from Indiana University with a BA in English and a Creative Writing Honors thesis. He worked for many years as a teacher of English as a foreign language and is currently living in Estonia. He has had poems published in Chicago Review, Paris Review and other literary magazines.