on the porch
on opposite sides of a table that
at least in my memory
so both of us can see the beach.
He’s shuffling papers,
my month’s worth of writings.
I’m waiting for him to speak.
Long weird pause.
“Well,” he says,
“when you applied we thought you’d be our star,
but I don’t know what the hell to say about this pile of…”
and, bless his heart, he pauses again
“What the hell were you thinking when you wrote this crap?
We both know you’re better than this.”
And this time the pause is mine.
“Well,” I say sorta tentatively,
“I guess I was trying to do what you said.”
“What I said?”
he says without so much as a beat for breath
and then he waits.
“You said,” I say, “that we should spend the month
throwing out everything we already knew
and do our best to write
in ways that were new
at least to us.
And so I did.”
this one punctuated by my papers
sliding across the table in my direction
just before he says,
“Yeah, well I’m so sorry you wasted your month here.
You can go.”
I gather up my writings
and, standing, turn toward the beach
just in time to see a submarine surface.
I turn back to look at him
and he says,
“It’s no big deal.
We see them surface here a lot.
Sometimes people write about them.
You take care, now.”