93. At The Door

Or no nails?”
Riah turned to
Answer Thomas,
On the top step of
The hardware store. “What’s
Best?” he said, their
Roof in mind,
Shingles lost from storms.
She smiled at his
Hair: unruly, always.
“Cost of handful
Nails–” she said. He
Knew. “Yep.
Got some cash for
Shingles, or for
Nails to nail them
On–not both.”
She held up one
Coin. Tom laughed: “Then
Buy James licorice!
Only March.
What we patch now,
Wind takes, anyhow.”

They about-faced
To find James some
Sweets. And
Not till then did
Tom see his mistake.
Ernest, Herbert,
Boyd and Mr. Mann,  Bud,
Roy Lee, Robert–
All were standing
There along the rail. They’d

Tom thought: I done
Wrong about the nails.
The men, hiding
Smiles. All looked
At him like they’d
Heard a joke, all
Waiting for him
Now. He tried to

Thing was, that with
Riah, nails was
But in others’
Eyes, nails wasn’t
Nails–it was
How you said it:
Nails. Or
How you got them.
Nails was: “Hurry
Up, get me them
I talk to her
Wrong somehow, thought Tom.
He turned curtly,
Heading for the store.

“Want to get some
Stuff,” he said.
Puzzled, she called,
The door slammed

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