I am an Occupational Therapist in Baton Rouge Louisiana who is lucky enough to have found the gorgeous and supportive Renee Stickels who, against all odds, has stayed by my side for many years. I have two grown daughters and one durn good bulldog. My cup runneth over. I have one book, Engines of Belief, and a website: edrpoet.com
“You Smell Like a Rapp"
my sister said one summer night with disdain. Of course she was right.
I'd been at our cousin’s all day, Squirting around, messing up furniture
playing "coottie tag." Putting things back to right so their mother
wouldn't use her hair brush on them while I sat home scot free
eating my own mom's overcooked liver smothered in onions.
They were all teachers, our parents, my mom, my uncle, aunt.
Dad the odd one out, a pharmacist who counted pills up on a loft
that set him just a few feet above the rest of the town so he had
to step down two stairs to meet customers for a consultation.
We played at the Rapp’s place mostly, sandbox,
tree-fort, basement because our house was shadowed.
My parents were locked in some long-standing struggle
so tainted by disapproval that my mother finally painted
our walls tabernacle gold to try and shut out the sorrow of
two people married decades without an iota of tenderness left.
Never a blush of sexuality there. I think that if they did ever bump,
dad just mounted her the furtive way a turtle tugs another turtle down -
jerks jism quick before the begrudging, bottom turtle can
shrug away, to keep scrabbling its belly over earth.
Every once in a while working close with someone
I’ll catch that scent again. I still think it comes from
an almost feral urge to be superior in some way.
They were always bragging. Jimmy was the fastest at school.
Kathy’s watercolor of a snowy barn, wood fence, oats took
first at county They couldn’t stop saying how they were
going back to California someday. It was the deep sort
of smell dogs go by, one soap could barely touch.
This morning I just wonder if kids even get that close.
Most lounge on couches pushing buttons. My kids
had to travel to Atlanta with us on holidays to reach
those screamed pitches. Trade smells. Three of those
cousins of mine actually do live in California. One
is in Durango, Colorado. I have a brother in Florida,
one in Illinois. A sister in D. C. My oldest sister ended up
here in Louisiana where some adult children still put trailers
on their parent’s back lots and grandmas slap pbjs together
summer noons. Mostly its gotten lonesome in this country
©2016 Ed Ruzicka
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