This is Not a Test

after A.E. Stallings

1. Stepping out of the car at the Comfort Inn,
We watched my Mormon father
Cross the parking lot.
a. Each man grew a comb in the closing distance.
b. Palm to palm with a black man, Dad looked up.
c. Suspicions about my partner’s name: confirmed.
d. One neck throbbed harder.
e. All or none of the above.

2. In Maverick’s Country Grill
Over roast and mashed potatoes,
Dad called Dorell a big boy.
a. Boy, of course, meant youth, and “Welcome, son.”
b. His mother’s grandfather’s will bequeathed a man to a man.
c. His wife didn’t kick him under the table.
d. Dorell held my father’s eyes and smiled outside of time.
e. All or none of the above.

3. When we sat in the dim hotel room
Lit by the screen of perpetual John Wayne westerns,
My father and I, surprised, choked up in patriotic pride.
a. Which America made him cry?
b. Did he notice our fingers laced with Dorell’s like keys?
c. “America the Beautiful” rang from our palms.
d. He didn’t know he would stop his monthly phone call.
e. All or none of the above.

2014

6 Responses to “This is Not a Test”

  1. eduardo says:

    Apologies for my way-too-long absence.

    Such ouching zingers, these multiple choices.
    If this, indeed, “is not a test,” well it all seems testing, nonetheless.
    (And, by the way, the answer to each is, “f. All _and_ none of the above (and more (and less)).”

    • wordweed says:

      So great to meet you here again! I’ve been relatively absent here too. Eb and flow, right?

      your f. answer seems rather appropriate. I like how it opens up even more possible answers.

  2. Fey says:

    Holy smoly. Which line is my favorite?
    Each man grew a comb or Which America made em cry?
    This was a brilliant byte sez I.

  3. jms says:

    *sigh* wish I could have heard you share it at the open mic. It seems so heavy when I read it, and a powerful strike at the remaining injustices of racism.
    My favorite line & image is “Each man grew a comb in the closing distance.”

    • wordweed says:

      Thanks, Jen. I wish you could have been there too! I miss writing with you and hearing your words.
      Ah, the combs. It seems our new flock of 13 chickens, complete with two roosters who so far peacefully coexist, keep sneaking their way in to my recent poems!

      I hope we can see you guys soon. Come out some time!!

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