by Lois Marie Harrod
Before she falls asleep, she turns on the TV
because she does not want to feel alone
in this stuffy room where the air-conditioning
is snuffling under the drapes like an asthmatic rat
seeking stale Cheetos. Now she is awake,
thinking of her sister Marlene Mae somewhere in the dark,
recovering from her latest surgery, a second knee replacement.
Tomorrow Alice Ann picks her up at the hospital,
takes her home. Alice Ann, the one who appears
and disappears like the headlights
hitting the ABC store, which coming from the North
Alice Ann thinks is an educational institution
until she learns Alcohol and Beverage Control.
It’s only ten o’clock. The alphabet still open.
Beer, cocktail, daiquiri –– she’d like a drink but she’s too tired
to put on her clothes, too embarrassed to stroll out
in pajamas to buy a gin sling, hanky panky,
ice, joker, lime rickey, kamikaze, big-eyed anime cartoons
keep shouting things, Help, Get Em, I’ll do it, like those Wonder Pets
she watched with her granddaughter.
Not much she could do for that one either,
certainly not bring the wayward father back.
If she called the desk, said she needed a friend,
would the guy with the snood listen?
Lois Marie Harrod’s 11th book “Brief Terms,” poems about teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press (2011), and her chapbook Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook contest (Iowa State University). Over 400 of her poems have been published online and in print journals including American Poetry Review, Blueline, The MacGuffin, Salt, The Literary Review, Verse Daily and Zone 3. A Geraldine R. Dodge poet and former high school teacher, she teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey.