“A Six-Box & Dried Legumes” by James Proffitt

James Proffitt


Ash asks if I said
all those nice things last night
in bed when she was moaning
because I was drunk
& I say I wasn’t drunk
& she says Uh, you drank a six-box
& I say that’s just getting started
& she says to most people that’s a lot
& I say I ain’t most people
or any people really
just me & I wasn’t drunk I was horny though
& she smacks her lips & huffs into the kitchen
probably in search of sprouts or goat cheese
or nuts & berries & shit
& I open the window
its wooden frame groaning & I lean out
& there’s Chappie down on the sidewalk
& I holler Get me a six-box will ya?
& he looks up holding three fingers
& I shake my head ‘yeah’
& five minutes later he’s on the escape
with three six-boxes & I give him
a twenty & I put two six-boxes
behind a stack of books & papers
because I know sure as Hell
she wouldn’t be snooping around
books & papers, she hates them.
Another six-box? she asks
as I walk past her in the living room
or the great room, whatever it is.
I place the official six-box in the fridge.
She is upside down
& next to her is a bowl of stupid
garbanzo beans & green peas.
They are dried it looks like
& there is a little can of carrot juice
to wash all that yummy down
I guess, like having a gun to kill yourself with
after you get married or shack up
with some broad who does yoga
& eats healthy & questions your drinking.
I crack one open & head back to my
little den & she asks
A beer already?
& I say Yeah, just the first of six, angel
& she smacks her lips & clenches
those sweet little buttocks, pops a delicious pea
into her mouth & smiles upside-down.
If I had a gun I would check the magazine
for shells to make sure I have one, for me,
but I don’t have a gun
though desperately wish I did
& so I sit down in my old leather chair
& push back a stack of papers
& there they are, two beautiful six-boxes.
I open up a book
& think sadly how
killing myself this way
will take a long, long time.

from Rattle #46, Winter 2014


James Proffitt: “‘A Six-Box & Dried Legumes’ was written after my girlfriend called to ask if I needed a six-box (her name for a six-pack of beer) from the store. Sure, I told her, though was thinking how I’d rather have three six-boxes. Then it came to me: The Yoga, legumes, fire escape, a gun, a kid named Chappie … For the past seven years I have reported news and created a photo collection while living in a little trailer (though I am partial to the term LSC—long skinny cottage) on the shore of Lake Erie on the Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio.”

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