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SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013


by Ron Salisbury

Ron Best loaned me his girlfriend 
for the Junior prom. She graduated 
two years before from another school,
had a job and great tight sweaters.  
She held her Lucky Strike like a pencil, 
blew smoke out her nose, didn’t drink beer 
but carried bourbon in her purse. I would 
have been in love if it hadn’t been for Ron.
On the slow dances, she’d snuggle in my neck, 
her hands on my butt. “Are they all watching?” 
she’d ask.

It had been a bad year. Dumped by two girls, 
each one, I knew, was the one. Stretched 
out ahead would have been the house 
squared with the lawn, white stake fence, 
steady job, two weeks off in the summer. 

I didn’t know it then, but I was on the edge 
of Brewer, Maine. The last dive off the cliff 
to New York City, then the swim through the surf
toward the rest of my life.

Ron’s girl pushed her Marilyn brassiere 
against my sport coat lapels, her face 
in my neck. Later, as I delivered her 
to Ron’s waiting car, she whispered, 
“If he ever dumps me, you’re next.”  

And I’ve been looking over my shoulder 
ever since, after every divorce.   
Would the cigarettes have got her, 
the bourbon? Or, would we be 
in some town an hour from the opera,
her teaching English, still tight under
the sweater, and me trimming the hedge,
the grass a perfect green dream,
our afternoon tea in its cozy, steaming.


SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Ron Salisbury

is a writer who has integrated his poetry with his business life for decades. Now, three wives deep, four children long, and assorted careers past, he continues to study, publish, and write in San Diego. Publications and awards include: Eclipse; The Cape Reader; A Year In Ink, Volume 6; The San Diego Reader; Alaska Quarterly Review; etc; and a nomination for a Pushcart Prize as well as an Honorable Mention in San Diego CityBeat’s Fiction 101 Contest.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury