Friday, January 17, 2014

Gas Station Egg Rolls / I Wanted to Talk to Her About Horses


James Babbs

I continue to write and publish poems and the occasional short story from my secret bunker somewhere in the hinterlands of Illinois.  I’ve been working on a novel for longer than I can remember and that could be part of the problem.  I wish I would’ve learned to play the guitar but at least I don’t know how to sing.  I guess I’ll just have to stick to writing until I get it right because at my age, what else am I going to do?


Gas Station Egg Rolls

coming home to the silence again
pushing against the walls
feels like I’ve been gone for years
but it’s only been a few hours
I pull mustard from the fridge
and open my first beer
before I sit down and start eating
the gas station egg rolls
the last three from beneath the warmer
probably sitting there since lunch time
but I was hungry
because I skipped breakfast this morning
and they’re not bad
still a little warm
when I slide them from the paper
I dip them in mustard
and wash them down with beer
laughing out loud
recalling something she once said
looking through the window
and seeing the way the sun
falls across the grass


I Wanted to Talk to Her About Horses

I saw her behind me
looking at the frozen waffles
before I pulled my cart to one side
so she would have room to get past
while I looked over the bread
not sure if I wanted white or wheat
or maybe some kind of wraps instead
when she walked by
I realized I knew her
speaking her name
and she smiled at me
I asked her
how she was doing
and she told me
everything was going okay
she asked me
if I was still writing
and I told her yes
sometimes
did she still have horses
and she smiled again
before mentioning their names
I wasn’t sure
how long it had been
since the last time I’d seen her
but I wanted to talk to her about horses
I wanted to ask her
how often she rode them
what it felt like sitting on their backs
with the wind in her face
and I wanted to ask her
if she wanted to get some coffee
or was she interested
in meeting me somewhere later
and maybe having a couple of drinks
but she said she had to get going
because things were really hectic
but it was nice seeing me again
maybe I should’ve ran after her
maybe I should’ve stopped her
and told her how I felt
but I didn’t
I just stood there for a moment
staring at the empty space
before dropping the wheat bread into my cart
and heading for the checkout


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