Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 3
Lois Marie Harrod
My story had a dormitory room
and a pair of blue suede pants,
a personal story that, like the pants,
is out of fashion.
Her story had a thermometer
and a cold shower running through it.
I was twenty.
She was twenty-one, she was not me
and this is her story.
These are her blue suede pants
which she told me to wear from her hospital bed,
but they were so big back in the dorm room
I had to roll them at the waist
to watch JFK’s funeral on the lounge TV.
She said they looked great, but I didn’t agree.
I don’t know why she wanted me to borrow them
but she kept saying from her hospital bed,
you have to wear my blue suede pants while I am here.
That was my story, feeling curious and uncomfortable
in her too-big britches when I should have felt sadness
at the death of a President rather than a strange
curiosity about his widow’s veil.
Everyone else was weeping.
So this is what a well-dressed woman wears
to her husband’s funeral, I was thinking
and everyone else was weeping.
But this is not my story, it is my roommates’s story
when she was twenty-one and I was twenty
and perhaps she was doing it, but she said she wasn’t.
What she said was she and Tom
just took off their clothes and messed around,
They didn’t actually do it.
They just took a cold shower, a long cold shower.
That was her story,
which seems dated by today’s standards.
She was twenty-one or twenty-two
and now she is sixty-one or sixty-two,
and she said, what am I going to do
with this baby?
And I said what baby?
because it was her story, not my story.
And she said, I’m pregnant, except
she’d never said she was pregnant,
she said she had to go to the hospital
to have her her womb scraped, a D and C
and I was so dumb I didn’t guess why.
I didn’t guess then what I guess now:
she had a botched abortion and was in the hospital
recovering while JFK was dying,
and when I came to visit her, she said
that the gynecologist, he was a young resident,
she said he wouldn’t believe it when she said
she was still a virgin.
No, you’re not.
That’s what he said.
She was in the hospital a whole week
for tests, that was her story,
and I believed her.
I visited her every day in those big suede pants.
© Lois Marie Harrod