Poem 73 ± August 16, 2015

Jeffery Berg

from your fingers keys
dangling out to me
on the VHS box of Psycho III
on the metal shelf

in the back of Bobby’s
gas station. I am barefoot
though I am not
supposed to be. I can’t

rent Rated R movies
so I study your cryptic
eyes, concrete steps,
Gothic house, blue evening sky

in your shirt’s shade. Mother’s
off her rocker again,
the tag line says. My Mom pays
for gas where wavy haired Bobby stands

in his cream T shirt, smoking away.
Once he asked her in his scarred voice
if my Dad was out of town. For the
redhead boy who lost

his parents and sister in a fire:
a jar of money on Bobby’s counter. You wanted
Psycho III to be in the vein of Blood
Simple. While filming, you got

your diagnosis. Bobby winks
in the convex. His store smells
like minnows
in a lake. Little stars.
Big stars. Always a realm we are
unaware of. The odds of ending
up at Bates Motel. The odds
of you dying on September 12th. Years later

your wife on Flight
11 on 9/11. Before the fire,
I watched my friend Hank
shove the redhead

at the Boy Scout cookout.
Called him a fat fag. The redhead’s mom—
heavy and redheaded too—
with big eyeglasses and a brown blouse

and blue jeans took her son in
her arms and walked him
to their light blue Taurus. I am not

sure what you trigger
in me. What will you mean
to me when I am off my rocker
years later watching you in Psycho III

too many times in a row, craving
to be a shut-in or in a lonesome
desertwalk with a suitcase
towards your motel. You, a legacy

in a black sweater under
owl’s wings. I forgo a PET
ice cream with its little wooden spoon
for change for the redhead.

Jeffery BergJeffery Berg grew up in Six Mile, South Carolina and Lynchburg, Virginia. He received an MFA from NYU. His poems have appeared in glitterMOB, the Leveler, Court Green, the Gay & Lesbian Review, Map Literary, AssaracusHarpur Palate, and No, Dear. He has written reviews for The Poetry Project Newsletter and Lambda Literary. A Virginia Center of the Creative Arts fellow, Jeffery lives in the East Village and blogs at jdbrecords.

This poem is not previously published.