For Writer's Island: Questionable
A supper on Joe's Porch 1969
by Edward S.Gault
Mike would go over to his brother, Joe's house ,
Every Sunday afternoon, and eat dinner with his family.
In the summer they would eat out on the porch.
It was probably the one halfway decent meal
Mike got to eat all week.
When he arrived that hot August day
Joe's wife, Alice, was seated in a lawn chair
At a little card table with a cutting board and colander
She would take the green beans and snow peas
From a pocket in her apron cut them up,
And put them into the colander for washing.
When she saw Mike coming up the steps,
She called for Joe to come down;
Then gathered her project, and went into the house.
The roast was almost done, all she had to do was boil the greens,
It wouldn't be long now.
Mike and Joe would sit on the porch swing.
Joe explained that his son Alex would be late.
He was at a friend's house playing street hockey;
He might even stay there and have supper.
He explained that it was fine for Alex
To be into sports and all that;
But he was not keeping his grades up.
He got a c- on his last geometry quiz.
At that point, Alice came onto the porch
With Mike's supper tray and put it down in his lap.
She said that she always tried to get the boy
Seated at the kitchen table for his home work
Each day immediately as he came in the door from school.
But keeping his mind on the task was a different subject.
He daydreamed a lot, she said as she left to get Joe's tray.
Joe said he simply did not want the boy to become an airhead.
Mike said that he didn't think that would happen.
Alex was a good kid.
Joe said it wasn't enough to be a good kid,
You had to have a diploma at least.
He didn't work his butt off at the factory
Just to have a screw up kid.
Again Mike assured Joe that Alex wouldn't be an airhead.
Joe wasn't so sure.
His wife brought in their trays, and they began to eat.
Joe went on to other subjects.
He was glad that Nixon had won,
That would show the damn liberals a thing or two!
They weren't going to dig into his pocket
For every one of their harebrained schemes.
Now they could blow the hell out of the Viet cong-
Show those radical hippies they were wrong.
Mike tried to listen, but he was having a hard time
Keeping his tray on his lap-
It kept wobbling around on him.
It was hard enough when you had to chase the peas
Around the plate, wobbly trays made it impossible.
Joe kept talking about what a damn liberal
Nixon was probably going to turn out to be.
He said to just wait and see.
He seemed to not notice Mike's tray.
If he did, it didn't seem to faze him
-it happened all the time.
Finally, Mike couldn't hold it down anymore
And it flipped out of his grasp.
The glass shattered.
The milk itself slithered across the floorboards
Followed by the tray, plate, and meal.
They descended the steps,
Scurried down the walkway,
And turned right onto the sidewalk.
They ran for several blocks-
Passing several people who didn't care,
Or even seem to notice
If so, they didn't stare.
This was the city.
It happened all the time.
Finally after several more blocks,
The roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, and peas
All came to a stop and rested.
The milk had gotten there ahead and was waiting for them.
You know, it said to the group as they all caught their breath
I think the kid is going to be an airhead.