Couplets, Interstitial

By Bedell, Jack B. | Southern Quarterly, Winter 2017 | Go to article overview

Couplets, Interstitial


Bedell, Jack B., Southern Quarterly


I've got my father drinking a second cup of coffee

every morning he stays with us. The first cup

just gets him talking about news he watched

after we all went to bed the night before.

The second brings stories of men

I remember in flashes-Mr. Gonsalin

from across the street, Mr. Toot

from the bayou side, old Savoie

who took a settlement from the company

but died after the third check-all gone.

Most times, I could finish these stories for him

like lyrics from some Frankie Lane song

we listened to on trips to the Smokies.

Sometimes, though, he offers a drum solo

or horn flourish I've never heard before,

like the time he asked my mother to marry him,

over the phone, half joking before he left

for the air corps, how she passed the phone

to my grandfather who explained, in turns,

the making of a bed, and the lying in it. …

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