Pure Fool

by Ian Hall

We had ham & Brie on
our saltines, fortified wine. & even though we were ill

met by the needling rain & springtime’s
anarchic phlegm, it was a grand picnic. The way you saw things

whetted the way I saw things, so we gnawed on the hock
of conversation for hours. & never did it border on fatal

quaintness. The sky going
gunmetal, I recited some

choppy De Sade. Big oratorical haymakers. I though I’d carpet
bombed your sense of certainty, decency. I thought I was telling

brimstone truths—putting the unlubed hydraulics
of your mind through their paces—but you were all

blasé in the face, & a great shudder of wind
went out of my sails. Then, seeing just how

wintry I was, coquettish you winked & let me ride
roughshod over your lips. Your breath

whorling with lunchmeat & curdled
hormone, we kissed. All schmaltz. Sidelong

the dusk went, day in its closing
scrimmage with night. My hands

moseyed up & down you stoic
as digestion. Layer after layer shucked, but I never struck

your weedy ulterior. So swank, you made me want to spell
my name with an umlaut; to till your garden

in something hipper than bib overalls. To undo a watermelon
ascot instead of these lusterless galluses. We shared a few minutes

where months happened. & by the time I sobered up, it was noir
dark, & the cool was nipping

hoarse at our voices. So we repaired to the pew
seat in my Chevy Celebrity. Again I wanted

to say something climactic to you. Something
axiom-shattering. But there was this heady & blanketing

squeamishness from the aftermarket exhaust
tiptoeing through the cab, so my quips weren’t nearly

hardboiled enough. In the end, I just ceded quiet. Didn’t feel
any less a man for the tabula rasa

look on my face when again & again you dynamized me
from crotch to cowlick.

Ian Hall was born and reared in Eastern Kentucky. He is currently pursuing a PhD in English at Florida State University. His work is featured in Narrative, The Mississippi Review, The Journal, and The Southeast Review, among others.