New Year’s in Staunton
A streetlight flickering, first
cigars. A walk to an overpriced
bistro, dried vomit on a
parked car. Oh, lover. If there
were ever a watermark on these
pages, let it be your breath on my
neck, the bounce of your thong,
descending the basement steps.
Suppose you answer the door and
she’s not there. Suppose it’s a man
with pamphlets who wants you to know
that his driveway paving service is
far superior to the more well-established one
in town, the one you’re embarrassed to
know by name. So suppose you listen
to his schpeal and then go back
inside and, upon realizing that the
disappointment you’re feeling is rooted
in your pathetic hope that she would
actually visit you on your birthday –
even though you broke up three and
a half months ago and she hasn’t
spoken to you since – you get distracted
by the cat’s fresh hairball that you just
stepped in on the carpet. Statement on
the salesman’s pitch or not, you’re still
angry and the cat is nowhere to be found.
So you go to the kitchen and get the Clorox
and the paper towels and now all you can
think about is how she used to tell you
to dab the stains, not wipe them.
Jacob Robert Bennett’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in Genre: Urban Arts, The Helix, Hobart, The Monarch Review, Oyster River Pages, and Quail Bell. He lives near Washington, D.C.