She was ditzy in that way he was learning
the really smart girls could be,
as if thoughts and notions were knocking
the pictures off the walls of her mind
in an internal tussle.
But how smart was he,
here on the toilet lid with a beer bottle
between his legs and an ice cube
pressed against his ear lobe
as she flashed a lighter under a pin
that was starting to glow red?
It was a challenge, keeping pace with her.
The early keg party patter
made her smile but didn’t have legs.
Sometimes, he felt like a stranger in a foreign
land with a passable grasp of the language.
“I’m reading books on the outside just to keep up with you,”
he joked as she missed the reference.
He plodded on:
“Louie Prima is going to be dead some day
and you’re going say, you know, I’ve been
listening to him for years.”
She stared blankly and then
went looking for more interesting conversation.
Soon she was done with him in a hard way,
each day a new swipe at his ideas,
his notions, his head.
The tussle was external and now
he was on the outside.
And then she was gone. And so was the earring.
He pulled it slowly from the lobe,
the skin, inflamed, tugged at the post as it went.