Sometimes a rock at the edge of the woods
is just a rock at the edge of the woods.
And so what if the understory’s leaves resemble
hearts but two have grown over the rock
so that from the angle of my seat
at this farm-to-table restaurant they look like eyes?
Now the rock is poor Yorick’s skull.
And the small boulder a few feet away: a ghost.
How do you feel about movies
where nothing much happens?
The scallops sound divine, bathed in a roasted pepper
coulis, but isn’t it creepy how the rocks are watching us?
I would like a more permanent solution
to this wobbly table than a folded matchbook.
In the meantime, I will order sparkling water,
which will make you wonder if you’ve ever really known me.
You will never look back on this and laugh,
though why is it so different from when you see
your mother naked? There she is, bent over,
nudging her pendulous breasts into her brassiere
which she so artfully hooks behind her.
And you have seen her step from the shower,
the small triangle of black hair dripping
between her legs.
But today you have opened
a door you should not have opened, and your father,
without suit and tie, is not your father.
This is nothing like finding condoms or a Playboy
in his night table. No. You’ve seen Poseidon rise
from the sea, trident in hand; you run from the room.
What did you think a god would wear?
SUSAN ROTHBARD’s poetry has appeared in the The Cortland Review, The Literary Review, Pif Magazine, Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, National Poetry Review, and other journals. Her work has been featured in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” and on Verse Daily. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and her Doctor of Letters from Drew University.