Chitchat with the Poem

Chitchat with the Poem

Junior League Women
A Junior League woman in blue
Showed me enough panty
To keep my back straight,
To keep my wine glass lifting
Every three minutes.
Do you have children? she asked.
Oh, yes, I chimed. Sip, sip.
Her legs spread just enough to stir
The lint from my eyelashes,
Just enough to think of a porpoise
Smacking me with sea-scented kisses.
The Junior League woman in yellow
Turned to the writer next to me,
Bearded fellow with two remaindered books,
His words smoldering for any goddamn reader.
This gave me time. Sip, sip,
Then a hard, undeceitful swallow
Of really good Napa Valley wine.
My mind, stung with drink,
Felt tight, like it had panty hose
Over its cranium. I thought
About the sun between delightful sips,
How I once told my older brother,
Pale vampire of psychedelic music,
That I was working on a tan.
That summer my mom thought I had worms—
I was thin as a flattened straw,
Nearly invisible, a mere vapor
As I hiked up and down the block.
I rolled out an orange towel in the back yard
And the sun sucked more weight
From my body. After two hours,
My skin hollered…I let the reminiscence
Pass and reached for the bottle,
Delicately because I was in a house
With a hill view held up by cement and lumber.
A Junior League woman in red
Sat with her charming hands
On her lap, studying us two writers,
Now with the panty hose of drunkenness,
Pulled over our heads and down to our eyes.
What do you do exactly, Mr. Soto?
And I looked at her blinding
Underwear and—sip, sip—said, Everything.

Gary Soto
from A Natural Man

Chitchat with the Poem

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