Good morning, sleepyhead, my aunt greeted me
when I shuffled into the kitchen, slumped
into a chair at the little table. She said
she was going to make her special pancakes
for everyone, asked me if I wanted some juice.
I nodded yes, my now wide open eyes focused
only on her. She wore a loose, white robe,
just short enough, and some fuzzy slippers,
I could smell her soap when she put the glass
down in front of me. She asked me how
school was going, and I managed to tell her
that JV basketball try-outs were coming up
in a few weeks. Oh, I like basketball a lot,
she said. I was a cheerleader in high school.
I watched her walk away, her dark hair hanging
loose against the white terrycloth, the movement
of her hips, the back of her legs. She flipped
on the radio, started singing along off key
and when we get behind closed doors,
one of those corny country songs I hated
back then. Without turning around she said,
I just love Charlie Rich, don’t you? Yes,
I answered without thinking. He’s great.
Your brother’s new wife is pretty like Mary Tyler Moore,
my mom said in the car on the drive back home,
but she sure as hell can’t cook. Yeah, my dad added
from behind the wheel, her special pancakes
this morning were worse than the ones they served
back when I was in the Army. I frowned, told them
that ones I had were pretty good, went back to reading
my Sports Illustrate. How the hell do you mess up pancakes?
my dad asked to no one in particular. I closed my eyes,
put the magazine over my restless right hand on my lap,
started thinking about my aunt, but nothing about pancakes,
just that crappy song I imagined she was singing to me.