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A book of poetry in his right hand…

by D.B. Nicely

A book of poetry in his right hand, a bottle of whiskey in his left. He lets his back crash into the pale yellow wall, the whiskey sloshing in the bottle, and he allows gravity to ease him down with his jacket rising up, bunching at his shoulders. He is slouched in the corner beside the doorframe that separates the hall from the kitchen. Beth appears next to him on his right and he notices their shoulders are touching. He stares at the poem, glancing at her only from the corner of his eye, but concentrating on neither.

“So, Jack, you going to read me some poetry?”

“Hell no.”

She stands and walks through the door frame. He loses her in the bright loudness of it all.

“Fuck it” he thinks. He pivots laying his back on the floor and his feet on the wall and begins to read aloud. He is screaming the words now, sliding around on his back, pushing off the walls and leaving black scuff marks from his shoes.

Beth runs in.

“What are you doing?” she says. “You’re leaving marks on the wall.”
He grabs her wrist, and raising slightly, he pulls her close, his lips brushing her ear.

“A solace of ripe plums seeming to fill the air. They taste good to her.”
She pulls away from him, amused and puzzled.” What, you don’t like Williams?” he says. “Maybe that was a bit cheesy.” He sends the book sailing behind him with the pages fluttering and permits it to slam into the wall with a startling thud and drop to the floor.

“What am i doing?! This is a party! I need to dance!”

He rolls backwards over his right shoulder and onto his feet. With head held high, he staggers chest first through the crowd in the kitchen and into the foyer. He opens the door that leads outside and as he steps through, Beth’s voice catches up to him; “What are you doing?! The music is in here!” Jack spins on his heel to face her. The moon is spraying light upon his back and illuminating the fall landscape stretching beyond him. “You have it all wrong darling. The real music is out here” and with a slight bow and a swing of his arms he shuts the door. She is left standing at the edge of the kitchen, unmoving as the crowd and the music roar behind her.

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