Kelly and Rachel

Kelly was fighting Irish
all the way,
a former choir boy from Troy
with close-cropped hair,
his mind and body tuned
like a fine Italian car.

Rachel was , let’s say,
to a gentle manner born,
a daughter of Israel
from New Rochelle
with the soulful eyes
of a frightened doe.

She called him at the dorm
to say it was all over,
she couldn’t bring herself to marry
out of the faith.
He collapsed like a miler
crossing the finish line
then tore the phone
right off the wall.

Friemds carried him to Sully’s
where a sympathetic barman,
a serpent running down his arm,
doled out shots of Irish whiskey.
By evening’s end, the empty glasses
were lined up in regiments
the whole length of the bar
and two townies lay cold-cocked
against a stool.

He headed for the Susquehanna
where they’d first made love
on the flannel lining
of his army parker,
the shadows of the flames
dancing on their flesh.

From one pocket
of his bomber jacket
he produced a diamond ring
and threw it far across
the cold dark water.
From the other he retrieved
a felt-tip marker
and walking to the Jesus Saves sign
by the Pentecostal Church,
he wrote in large block letters

(originally published in Storyacious)

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