Scooping Mary 

by Ayun Halliday 

  "Amagansett, 1977" by Lilo Raymond

Mary, here's what's up with your futon:

I came home from two weeks vacation
Trailing my stepfather and a shriveled up bush from the Island
(I hope it grows
Then we can eat fresh raspberries off that bush
All year long)
I came home from two weeks vacation
To find Ted, the keeper of my plants
Enjoying a cigarette in his underpants,
Sprawled on a blanket
Where my bed used to be.
(It having been decided that the ex-old man
Would remove the bed
In my absence.)
Ted said he much preferred sleeping on the floor.
His back felt delicious.
Ted was enjoying a cigarette in his underpants
And my stepfather scuttled from this display of bony gaiety,
Forgetting his offer to pick up your futon
As he dropped me off from two weeks vacation
In the family station wagon.

It's a good thing I have two bathrobes
Because it took two sashes to truss up that futon of yours
Like a great big dusty jelly roll.
It took two skinny friends
To hump that thing across Halsted
Me, heedlessly swinging them into traffic,
The human rudder,
All I could see was futon.

We dragged that uncooperative mat of yours up three flights, count 'em.
(It was a good thing I'd thought of those sashes.)
In another month we'll drag it down
And across Halsted
Back to your old house
Where I'll live with my two skinny friends.
Our sides ached thinking of that
Dragging that baby up three flights.
Me, bashing my skinny friends into the wiggly wooden banister.
We dropped our jelly roll
In the space where my bed used to be
And went off to Cafe Fiasco.
It was every bit as delicious as Ted's back.

Your futon's not the only thing I brought home that night.
He has beautiful hands, he's half-Japanese, he's 20 years old
Oh my god.
We sat on my balcony 'til sunrise
Smoking hand-rolled cigarettes of tobacco and 5-Spice powder.
It's amazing the flimsy pretenses we come up with
When we want to flirt.
We sat on my balcony 'til sunrise
Waiting for that kiss to come
It took forever
But after that things moved quickly.
We unrolled your futon and christened it.
His hair fell on me in a dark, heavy curtain,
The way mine used to do
With my ex-old man
Before I cut it off.
Your futon has a lumpy lengthwise ridge
No doubt from its extended run as your couch.
Your futon has a lumpy lengthwise ridge
That caused this new fellow to roll in his sleep.
I watched him from the floor
Where I'd been knocked.
I couldn't sleep.
It was delicious.
We stayed on your futon 'til mid-afternoon
Attempting to bash out that lump.
(Amazing what can happen in the 24 hours
Following a two week vacation.)

Later, he sat on my balcony in the white bathrobe.
I was there, too, just liking the fact of his dark hair
Spilling over the collar.
And I thought,
Maybe soon I can offer him raspberries.
Maybe in my new home,
Your old home,
My new lover can eat Sand Island raspberries
With me and my two skinny friends.

Please accept this check for a hundred dollars.
I'm keeping your futon.
I believe it's bringing me luck.

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