First her clothes        Black full-length dress slit up to the thigh        Green emerald jacket belted at the waist        Then the naked man in the locker room        Then the moue she pulls when Ryan O'Neill asks if she could live with his body on her head        Summer of '78 Jimmy Carter        Open space between junior and senior year        The joy of not touching          Of being untouched        Varnish of sweat on skin        Chill in the air        Busboys at Spaghetti Works        The charge of asking him to a poetry reading        Exchanging poems        Interstional        He said that was a word
Lunch at King Fong's        Slurping his food        Wild hair against gaunt cheeks        Austere is a word that sounds like its meaning        Hadassah Bargain Box near his apartment on Dodge        Walking and arguing ideas        Coffee with cream sky above the incinerator on the north side of downtown
When we reached agreement I turned and walked away        My sister Rita took me to The Main Event        Westroads Cinema        Kathy Bohi in a chenille jacket in the lobby        The turn of her calf in Geometry        Barbra plays a bankrupt executive whose last asset is a washed up fighter        Her boyfriend told her she had a great ass        As the producer he featured it in many scenes        In interviews she said she never liked her looks although now knows she was beautiful in her thirties        Wearing a shorty bathrobe she vacuums her pink apartment        She smokes a cigarette like a man when she catches Kid Natural in a lie        She mispronounces Brent Musburger's name and hijacks his sports show over the credits        Most audiences were annoyed
At the end her voice breaks free Soaring synthesizers        Multiple key changes        A rise in octave
An impossibly long note        Engine of music        A machine cranked faster and faster This was my future        Paul Jabara's song winning an Oscar        Jimmy Carter in office        Harvey Milk elected in San Francisco        Sunsets at Elmwood Park        Home of Warren Buffet        Rita's new Famolare shoes in the mud        Oaky wine        Heavy sediment        Muenster cheese from Hickory Farms        When I grow up I don't want to be a stooge for daytime TV        Judge Judy outstretches her arms like Evita        Her Botoxed face is smooth        Beastly Expressions a category on Jeopardy       
A sell out        A company man        Today the sun was directly above the equator        The day was as long as the night        Jimmy Carter calls resistance to health care reform racism        This is what it looks like people        Your friends and neighbors        The pedophile in the cubicle down        Don't insult our intelligence        Call it what it is        How to get out of this        When I graduated I shopped at the Goodwill for my future life        An iridescent saucer        A pink swan TV Lamp        Pearl Methodist folding chair        I packed it all in boxes and watched the CBS Late Movie        The Bandwagon        Fred Astaire dances in a penny arcade with another man        Designing Woman        Lauren Bacall bit Gregory Peck's ear in a sublime expression of lust        Ingrid Bergman puts her arm around his shoulders in Spellbound          This is how I would hold a man        Barbra's voice soars        A quarter of a century later I've got a basement full of bijou and porcelain        Increasing in value with age

About the Poet

James Cihlar is the author of Undoing (, and his poems have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Quercus, Bloom, Minnesota Monthly, Northeast, The James White Review, Briar Cliff Review, Verse Daily, and in the anthologies Aunties (Ballantine), Regrets Only (Little Pear Press), and Nebraska Presence (Backwaters Press). The Books Review Editor for American Poetry Journal, he has also published reviews in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and on the poetry site Coldfront. The recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship for Poetry and a Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner, Cihlar lives in St. Paul.