"Leaves and Branches"
Copyright 2000 Darin Boville

The Bet

From two hundred yards away I spot
the traffic signal, hear myself wagering
"the light stays green for me or else
my wife dies"--where did this come from?
At five p.m. each workday does my wife
wait by the twelfth-floor elevators and declare
"the next car going down will stop here
or my husband keels over"?
Sure enough, I sail through the intersection
--light still green--
and taste the filet mignon of victory.
But what if the light had turned
blood red? Could I have led my wife
to the cement wall, blindfold, and final cigarette?
I fondle the possibilities a while until
my sensible Honda pulls into our driveway.
My wife dashes out of the house,
throws open the car door, pins me
--her lovable assassin--
between steering wheel and front seat
in a hug. I die a little, then return:
like a body plunging from the diving board,
slicing the water with a brief tloom
before finding its way back to the surface,
back to her.

Copyright 2000  Joel Katz
All Rights Reserved

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