Thursday, January 16, 2014

Laura Stamps- A Poem

I Climb Into His Jeep And Buckle My Seatbelt.  
No Sharks In Sight.  Or So I Thought.

“I can’t believe you were a Green
Beret,” I say, licking tomato sauce
from my fingers.  We’re eating
lunch at one of his favorite vegan
restaurants in Westport, the hippie
section of Kansas City, Missouri. 
“Why?” he says.  “I thought everyone
wants to jump out of perfectly good
airplanes.”  He drags the last piece
of pizza onto his plate.  “Yeah,
right,” I say and roll my eyes. 
Then I smile.  I can’t help it.  This
is the best vegan pizza I’ve ever
eaten.  Covered in almost two
inches of grilled vegetables, it’s
topped with a layer of soy cheese
as rich and buttery as cake frosting. 
“But weren’t you scared the first
time you jumped?” I ask, spearing
a juicy red pepper with my fork. 
The server walks by with three
big bowls of vegan banana
pudding mixed with blueberries,
grapes, and pecans.  I almost
swoon.  “Nope,” he says.  “I was
stationed at Fort Benning.  You
get good training there.”  I push
back my empty plate.  I wish
I had room for banana pudding. 
I don’t.  “I only got the crap scared
outta me once,” he says.  “The
engine failed in our plane, and we
jumped into shark-infested water. 
It took forever to get the life raft
inflated.  Longest twenty minutes
of my life.”  I pull my lipstick
and a tiny mirror from my purse. 
“Jaws,” I say.  He nods.  “Bad
memories, bad times,” he says. 
Fifteen minutes later we walk out
of the restaurant into dazzling
sunlight.  Locals, tourists, and
shoppers crowd the sidewalks
lining Westport Road.  The
Jerusalem Café across the street
is doing a brisk business, too. 
It’s another of his favorite places
to eat.  An autumn breeze combs
my hair with its cool fingers as
we walk down the street to the
lot where we left his Jeep.  Tall
maples shade the sidewalk,
their scarlet leaves crackling in
the noonday sun like thousands
of fiery embers.  The parking lot
is on a hill and old, the pavement
broken.  It dips and rolls like
the open sea.  Like there might
be sharks hidden beneath.   

BIO: Laura Stamps is a Pagan novelist and poet living in South Carolina.  Her latest novel is “The Rune Witch” (Kittyfeather Press, 2013).  Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for seven Pushcarts and published by Texas Review Press, Ninety-Six Press, and McGraw-Hill, among others.  She enjoys creating experimental forms for her prose poems, blurring the line between fiction and poetry.

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