IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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WE CHOOSE OUR PARENTS

Mark Kraushaar

I'd liked one couple in La Paz but they were too short. There was another outside Spokane selling bait but they were too loud or too smart or something. I don’t remember. With the pair I chose I liked the way his arms fit behind hers at the sink. That was part of it. I liked that he stammered and how she was proud when he watched stars and made notes at his desk. She could help him back to Earth. But the night I chose this pair there'd been words said. There'd been a silence and more words and a long pause and some shouting and I knew how he wanted to sit down—or they both did—and wouldn't. There was a way she’d have her mouth and a way he’d walk around to keep from crying. Then, later they'd been quiet a while when there was a telephone call, and when my father hung up my mother switched the radio on by the stove. It could have been Armstrong or Sinatra or Dorsey, I don’t know. But I remember how my father asked her, softly and then even again, if she’d possibly dance just one and allowed as how he himself wouldn’t mind.


RAY

Mark Kraushaar

There was something he'd done: left the hose on or let the dog out or strewn his clothes around. I didn't know. What happened afterward I didn't understand enough to mention and it would have been stupid besides. We were twelve and Peter and I were outside and Peter's father opened the porch screen door and stood there facing the yard. Ray's face was red and he told Peter, Come over here. So my friend walked over and he caught some hell, not a lot but enough. I don't know where my parents were but our green Dodge was parked by Peter's family's garage and I climbed on the hood to see the way Ray's lecture ended. There was, How could you, and, Why don't you, and, Sorry, Peter said and then a pause and Ray took a seat on the steps. Then Peter smiled and Ray leaned just forward and held him a moment, and gently, like their lives depended on it.

 
 
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