He said he wanted to leave his past behind.
It was always waiting for him, though,
at the next corner, smoking
a cigarette, blowing smoke rings.
He buried it on Ocean beach
with pail and shovel, the seals
barking their approval.
He did it at dusk, with only
the tides as witnesses.
At Monterey a month later he watched it
wash up on the sand wrapped in kelp
like a body
dumped off the deck of a smuggler's boat
the night before.
He left it in a sulky blonde's arms
one night in San Francisco.
Fifteen years later a teenage boy
showed up at his door.
He never acknowledged the boy
but caught a train east, alone.
At every station he found his past
waiting for him, offering
to carry his bags.
Always his past found him, like a bounty hunter
waiting for the right moment
to grab him. Finally he was safe,
in a spider hole in NY City that God himself
had lost track of. But his past
was on a bus heading north
They're making out on the porch's sofa.
We haven't seen their faces in weeks,
each scrooched up in the other's kisses.
We walk around them. We ask
when do they eat? When do they shower?
We don't exist for them.
Their jeans must be Velcro,
they way they're stuck together.
We dismiss their marathon of kissing.
They're due to be married
within a month. Will they roll
down the aisle clutching each other?
They don't need a honeymoon.
They just need a room.
They make us feel like something
is missing from our lives.
We tiptoe around them as if
tiptoeing around spilled milk.
We have lessons to prepare,
a cat to lift from a plate's gravy.
What do they know about life?
We shrug. But we can't hide
our envy of such
©2006 by Bob Bradshaw
Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, California. Recent work of his can be found at Avatar, Eclectica, 3rd Muse, VLQ, Half Drunk Muse, Pen Himalaya, and Red River Review.