Pistons in Her Haunches

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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It's a 50th anniversary dinner
for Bernie and Blanche at the Elk's Hall.
After dessert Blanche grabs the mike
and primes the crowd by announcing,
"Fifty years we've been married
and Bernie's never had a sorry day."
Then Bernie grabs the mike and says
"The nights have been wonderful, too.
Despite her orthopedic shoes, Blanche
still has pistons in her haunches."
In fact, after all these years, Bernie has
but one complaint: Blanche never
gets to the point in any conversation.
It's up to Bernie to decipher the code.

Early every morning Blanche and Bernie
sit in their recliners and sip coffee.
Blanche stares into space and then
jots down on a legal pad everything
Bernie must do before their lovely
Victorian house falls down.
Bernie in the meantime reads
the obituaries with one eye
and watches Blanche with the other
and waits for her head to rear back,
a mule ready to bray a prologue
Chaucer would envy.

Many times Bernie has asked Blanche
to give him the bottom line first.
"Tell me up front what you want me to do
and then fill in the details," he tells her.
But with no bottom line in any conversation,
Blanche makes Bernie feel as though
a python is winding around his chest.
"I know what the python wants,"
Bernie says, "and he'll be quicker."

After 50 years of marriage,
Bernie says meandering by Blanche
in conversation is a small complaint.
He'll never have a sorry day as long as
Blanche has pistons in her haunches
because every now and then,
despite stenosis of the spine,
Bernie likes to bounce off the ceiling.
That bounce, he says, is why
he married Blanche in the first place.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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