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Soon, She Said

Bruce Cohen

“And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:”

--Philip Larkin

We’d recently relocated from Oakland

& it was the first time, in decades, I’d driven

In snow. On this rural road in Coventry,

(The town established in 1712), slick & unplowed,

I semi-crashed into a snow bank, one tire submerged

In a shallow creek, the windshield cracked. I hadn’t

Even gotten around to buying a pair of winter gloves

Yet. These were pre-cell phone days. I glared

At my immobile automobile when an American truck,

A Chevy, stopped. A guy slammed his door, declared

I needed help. I shrugged at the obvious as he wedged

A two-by-four under my front tires, giving me traction

To get back on the road. I didn’t mean to insult him

By reaching into my pocket. We’re friends now,

He said, as he absorbed a second too long my expired

California license plate. I didn’t know it then but

Our sons were the same age, went to school

Together, same sports teams, Boy Scout troop.

By the next autumn we had a father-son sleepover in

An unseaworthy battleship at Battleship Cove: the reward,

A lousy merit badge mothers sewed crookedly on their boys’

Uniforms. Bob & I violated the Scout Code by smuggling

In nips: Bacardi for him, Johnny Walker for me, while

Responsible dads debated techniques of various knots

& ways to safely deep fry turkeys in metal trash cans.

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