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Four Poems by Justin Hyde

after your best friend’s wedding

we stood naked
in front of the hotel mirror

arms
behind each other’s backs

marveling
at our youth

electric

to start our own family

fourteen years later

a divorce decree
and a six year old boy

are all that
bind us.

you think
i’ve moved on

unscathed

flush with luck
and impunity

while you still struggle
rinsing your heart out
against the rocks

i know this
because i’m reading your diary

right now

wandering through this house

that used to be ours.


this morning at the dahl’s cafe on ingersoll

long black hair
native american features
motorcycle helmet in her hand
she sits at a table
kitty corner from me.
i make eye-contact
until she returns the eye contact
then i immediately stare down at the floor.
thirty-six years old
i still have no idea
how to flirt with a woman. pathetic
in a pathological sense.
i take my jacket off
and walk past her to get more coffee
trying to show off these quasi muscles
i’ve cultivated
to compensate and proxy
for my ingrown heart.
of course none of this
cajoles her.
she finishes her breakfast
(completely oblivious to this impotent soliloquy for sure)
grabs her helmet
out the door
to the parking lot. i
watch her
side glance out the window
like a starving toothless
wolf.


i missed you last night richard fiester

volunteer firefighter, sole proprietor of fiester repair, town drunk,
grandpa.
i was at work last night, minding my own accord,
then there was a tightness in my chest,
got tighter,
thought i was having a heart attack or a stroke.
then visions of my childhood flooded me
like a blown dam.
i was missing you last night,
actually missing you, for the first time since you passed
thirteen years ago.
i’ve been seeing a psychologist, and i won’t lie,
he’s got my heart cracked open like an egg.
would you have cottoned to any of this? i’m sure you would.
grandma is still around and kicking,
she’s dating a ninety year old world war two vet.
the older she gets the more
her and mom’s eyes look alike. don’t get me started there.
i have an eight year son. a good boy.
tonight
we are going out to saylorville
to try for a stringer of crappie. i’ve got your old worm-box,
and some of those wooden bobbers from canada.
i’m going to teach him the same fishing knot
you taught me.


she leans in at the control desk

tools sell better than drugs and sex here
that’s why she stole the work-truck out of the quick-trip parking lot
the money?
just to live you know justin
just to get by
god
she has a wonderful laugh
right through the myelin
and dumb noise
i see my psych doctor tomorrow justin
no need to worry about me
life’s too short for bullshit
that laugh again
she taps the control desk lightly
with her fingertips
and goes out
to bum a smoke.


About the author:

Justin Hyde lives in Iowa. More of his work can be found here.