Kevin Rabas

The Literary Circle

At The Writer’s Den, people dressed well, had on suits and sports jackets and slacks and ties, had blouses that were slick and shimmered. Ron with his monk-cut hair, bald on top, his body willow-slender, held his wine glass in one hand and swung his other; his mind was there, with that hand, in air—and what Ron said could be said to be literature, if someone were to write it down. You might do well to parrot what Ron said the next time you held wine. But Liz and me, we drunk Jack in the park afternoons, and we wanted so badly to be “in.” When we came in the door, only a few of the affluent looked up, and at that not long. They went back to their talk and their wine. Their club was utterly complete without us, and, without us, they would go on.

Dead Battery

I called my ex-girlfriend, when my Blazer died in the Tune Shop parking lot. Jawaun needed a thick metal c-string for his bass. We had the hood open, when Bea got there, the jumper cables out and coiled. Bea drove us to the Little Apple Wal-Mart, and we got the battery, undid the screws, and lifted it in—and, on the way back, we all stopped and watched white ruffled couples dance through the window of the old folks home, there in the grass by the curb, Bea’s hand in my hand again.

‘67 Mustang Fastback
Gene says, “How fast can she go?” and we use
    his detector to spot cops, and crank the car up,
and she goes 110, and we almost run out of gas
    on the way back.

Erica plants a kiss on my driver’s side window, leaves.
    She loves my car. Night, my hair
full of pool water, I open my door, just touch
    the pink lipstick print, wonder, “Will she ever kiss me?”

Fire, Possum

Night we’re tested to sleep outside with no tent, just a bag on the ground and that fire we’ve made from sticks, a possum with his pinking shear teeth wobbles up to my little yellow fire; spittle drips from his needle-fine teeth, and foam froths from the crook of his grin, perhaps rabid, and I think swift, pull the fuel-rich mosquito repellant dropper bottle from my front jeans pocket and spray the stream into the fire’s center, and up shoot the flames, full of “strong medicine,” full of alcohol, spunk, and that tall-flamed flash fire spooks our possum, who turns, white-pink tail, a trail, a pale snake into the pitch, into the circle of hickories and tall tree shadows that define night.

Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and co-edits FLINT HILLS REVIEW. He has six books: BIRD’S HORN; LISA’S FLYING ELECTRIC PIANO, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; SPIDER FACE; SONNY KENNER’S RED GUITAR, also a Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; ELIOT’S VIOLIN; and GREEN BIKE: a group novel.
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