Patrick Rylands

Punch Line - Poem by Patrick Rylands

I gave her the feed and she smiled politely
That slick-lipped, lip-sticked show of perfectly white teeth.
I recoiled, immune, so used to this artifice.
Sipped my unwanted drink and glanced at the time
Remaining to me. She said. ‘What is it that you do? ’

I considered the sublime but opted for the ridiculous
‘As little as I can get away with! ’ Laughter? Only cold-eye.
‘But seriously’ – I forget who intoned the cliché. So I
Told her that I taught. She asked me what “exactly.” Bored
Of the game I told her. I studied a stain on my sleeve. She yawned.

When they asked me how it went, I dismissed it with an ‘OK’.
Don’t they see that I don’t want to talk about it? Seriously.
Plenty more fish in the sea. There’s somebody for everybody.
‘Must have a busy schedule then, ’ I replied. Mystified looks.
‘Ah, forget it. A silly joke – really not worth worrying about.’

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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 6, 2009

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