Nancy Flynn

2012/09/09 § Leave a comment

On the theme of How We Fall Out of Love

Shamrock Motel, Route 17, Outside Corning, New York

You agreed to meet Tuesday
for a lark, ever the wavering
vamp vying for her wanderlust
sharpshooter, tough-guy blue.
Predictable as blaze, you were certain
this time you would conquer
his misbehaving heart,
scale inconstancy’s cloud.
One more corner room—
silty with lust, the mattress
molding and sumped, light years
of love notes fallen flat.
It never works like that.
You, tailed by a slagheap.
His trysting rules in media res,
glacial pebbles a nibble at the pane.
How many years
and you still don’t get
why the window could not break.
You swallowed your tongue,
complicit poet of the gimcrack
walls. Yet another afternoon brewed
hot then cold then hot, molten
blown to glass, mere miles
down that road. Swaying
to the lyric, crystal sips
from a Cole Porter tune.
Swinging its inevitable
fists of ruin.

Their Cheating Hearts

All that’s left in the living room is a rug made in Turkey,
the wool diagrammed from vegetable and root.

She sits by the fireplace, waiting for an omen
in a smoldering wedge of wood.
Hoping for Mary who’ll remind her—
it was only about dancing seams
down a leather skirt
and a poetry that urged,
Pick me.

She scraped plates and scrubbed,
contraband dawns and the smell of Dawn,
those honey-glazed, log-cabin nights.
After their late-late meals
of garden zucchini, potatoes,
and the most royal of Silver Queens.

Now she pours a kettle
over the grounds, slow drip
into a mug that celebrates
the ambidextrous,
above and below the belt.

He’s in the doorway, shirtless,
pointing out a shred of nest
beyond their heads.
She is supposed to be
swimming laps at the Y
then overnight at a friend’s.
They are packing,
his music, his books,
folding his quilt,
each with two corners,
walking to meet.

One last night
to sail their adulterous seas.

In the morning,
he’ll screw hose,
start the siphon
down from the loft
to deflate their watery bed.

Where she was his starlet,
harlot, the frolicking (but married) girl
he begged to talk bawdy-blues dirty,
hurry up and put that dog between my legs
barely the half of it,
slap of skin, snap of shutter,
the salt on an ear of corn,
his addictive sweat.

After he’s gone?
She’ll claw the piney planks.
Supplicant for splinter,
far too willing to trade the wreckage
for that first song,
Irma Thomas on his stereo—you can have
my husband but please don’t mess with my man-—
and the solstice floor grown cold
so they adjourned, seconds on the stairs,
their two-timing turned two-step
marathon in a roadhouse honky-tonk.

Not unlike the Crooked Board Saloon
where he once took her to strut her stuff.
Watched from a stool while she fooled
with a guy down the bar. Watched them
heading out back. Waited inside the door.
Watched as she stretched long down the picnic
table’s bench. Waited for her to catch his eye.
Watched for her knees, opening wide.
Waited for her to lose her open-toed shoes.

Author Biography

Nancy Flynn grew up on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania, spent many years on a creek in Ithaca, New York, and now lives near the mighty Columbia in Portland, Oregon. Recent poems have appeared in Blood Orange Review, PANK, qarrtsiluni, and Sugar Mule; her second poetry chapbook, Eternity a Coal’s Throw, will be published in November 2012. More at

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