Nonnie Augustine is a poet, short fiction writer, poetry editor of The Linnet's Wings from 2007 to spring 2014, and author of the poetry collection, "One Day Tells its Tale to Another" named by Kirkus Review's "Best of Indie 2013." She recently won the 16th Glass Woman Prize for her prose poem, "All is Ready."
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
A gentle man,
and a fierce woman,
charmed one another
in a shaded gazebo.
Rupert’s castle showed crumbles.
Irene’s prized roses had bugs.
Each soothed the other
sipping Zinfandel in Bath.
Tommy’s boots flapped.
Polly’s hem dragged.
She invited him over
for a rabbit stew supper.
Arthur’s corners were round.
Sophie’s darts were dull.
They rolled in the clover
down a slope past some goats.
Robert’s inkwell dried up.
Elizabeth’s verse wouldn’t rhyme.
They thanked God they were lovers,
and got naked in Sienna.
A young girl
and a younger boy
blushed and bussed
on the Ferris Wheel in Vienna.
On Whitecap Island
Terrence pulled his Mercedes into the dirt driveway of Kathleen’s bungalow. He opened his door, closed it, lit a cigarette, took a couple of drags, crushed it in the ashtray, opened his door again and got out of his car.
With renewed determination, he rang the doorbell.
“Just a minute; I’m coming.”
“She sounds cheerful”, Terrence thought. “Good sign.” He caught a flicker of moving curtain. The door knob turned, he heard a grunt, and the door flew open. Kathleen, adorably, regained her balance and blushed.
“I’m sorry Mr. Coyle. This old door sticks and then BAM it opens. Gets me like that every time I open it. Uh, how can I help you, Mr. Coyle?”
“Would you ask me in, I wonder?” He saw her glance around her front room before she opened the door wider.
“Yes, of course, come in.” She stepped aside and he entered the small room. Terrence had been there once before, at her husband’s funeral, and was impressed then with the charm of the house. The hand-hooked rug was certainly made locally and the fine drawings on the wall of the town and harbor were by an artist he knew who sold his work when he could, but made his living as a fisherman. Books were on the shelves- -not china dogs, dancing ladies, or souvenir plates.
Kathleen had regained her usual composure. She was an Islander whose family had been on Whitecap for generations and whenever he’d seen her around the harbor, at company parties, or in town he’d admired her dignity. Now she stood staring at him with her head slightly cocked and her brows drawn together. Her small, sunburned hands were still at her side. Kathleen was one of the least fidgety women he’d ever known. She must be wondering what her dead husband’s boss was doing in her tidy front room. Well, he wasn’t there to worry her, so he’d better say something.
“Kathleen? May I sit down?”
“Of course! Yes, please have a seat. Would you like something? Coffee or tea? Or, would you like a proper drink? I have whiskey.”
“I’ll take a whiskey if you’ll have a glass with me.”
Terrence sat on the sofa and Kathleen went to the kitchen. She came back with two generous drinks in crystal glasses.
Kathleen sat on the edge of an armchair across from him and raised her glass. She took too much, too fast, coughed and turned pink. Before he could do more than put his own glass down, she’d stood from her chair. She stumbled toward the kitchen, choking out “water” as she went. Terrence hurried to the kitchen ahead of her. He found her a glass, filled it from the tap, gently eased her into a chair by the wooden table, and hovered over her until she stopped spluttering. When she did, he took her hand in his.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered.
“I’m here to do whatever you want—whenever you want, every day for the rest of our lives.”
“What? What do you mean? Please don’t tease me Mr. Coyle.”
“When we were in high school, you called me Terrence. Our senior year, you called me Romeo. When I kissed you during the play, dear Juliette, dear Kathleen, it had nothing to do with Shakespeare. But you were always Davy’s girl, weren’t you?”
“I was Davy’s girl, then Davy’s wife, and I bore Davy’s children, but I never forgot you, dear Terrence, dear Romeo.” And with a young girl’s radiant smile, she wrapped her arms around him, and kissed him like she’d been wanting to do for fifty years.