Other Poems by:

Kathleen Paul-Flanagan

Those Boys

In high school 
it was always 
the boys 
with long, lacquered hair, 
who drove 
old Novas and El Caminos, 
and wore ripped, faded Levis 
with heavy keychains 
attached at the belt loops, 
who looked like 
Springsteen songs, 
who took auto mechanics and metal shop 
and said 
'ow you doo'n 
and smelled like cheap aftershave, 
it was always 
those boys 
who wanted to 
marry me. 

I would slide 
folded, 
lined, 
pieces of notebook paper 
into 
the vents of their lockers 
with the single word 

no 

written in red ink 
across them 
because I was 
waiting 
for the perfect football player 
who 
never 
arrived. 

The Hum in My Ears

I sat on the muddy-colored sofa 
you kneeling in front of me 
those blue eyes talking 
your pale skin 
generating heat 
in my heart 
and in my jeans 

Bob Marley sang in the background 
on a record that popped and hissed 
but the hum in my ears 
dulled the music 
all I could hear 
was the whooshing sound 
of first love 
or maybe lust 

The late afternoon sun 
dimmed as we kissed 
and kissed 
and kissed some more 
lighting up the room 
with our warmth 

You stayed with me 
for a long time 

Years later 
in the grocery store 
I heard a Muzak version 
of Stir It Up 
and was so lightheaded 
the bag boy had to help me 
out to the car 

Another time 
driving down a dark New Jersey road 
One Love came on the radio 
I was so weak 
I had to pull over 
it took a half an hour to collect myself 
and drive home 
to my husband and babies 

The thing is you don't 
make me weak anymore 
or lightheaded 
but whenever I hear 
Bob Marley sing 
I think of you 
and hold back a few tears 
with a small smile 

Neon Pink Post-It Note

in the morning 
drinking coffee 
laced with cream 
and regret 
staring into the air 
while the toast and eggs 
burn 
leafing through catalogs 
seeing things I can finally 
afford 
but don't want anymore 
writing a message to myself 
on a neon pink post-it note 

keep your heart to yourself 

hearing the baby cry 
and scrawling 
another thought 

remember what really counts 

Road Trip

There was tension in the car.
The littlest one whimpered and moaned.
The oldest, with headphones in place,
stared grimly out the window.
The middle child pretended to sleep
while we tried to navigate a road atlas 
and directions printed off mapquest.com.

We pulled off the highway 
and found a grocery store. 
At least, that's what it seemed to be. 
We weren't familiar with Harris Teeter. 

Another car swerved into the space next to ours.
Six old men with long hair and longer beards
emerged from a cloud of smoke.

The middle child looked over and smiled, 
"Look what the age of Aquarius spit back up!" 
Laughter filled the compact space
and for the moment
we were at ease again
as we drove away.

C)opyright 2007 Kathleen Paul-Flanagan- All Rights Reserved

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