“Overheard” by William Virgil Davis

William Virgil Davis


Well, you know,
she said, two weeks
ago, it was our
anniversary, not
that he would know,
or even believe
me if I told him so,
so, you know, I
hatched a plan to
remind him and,
well, to surprise
him too, and so,
anyhow, I worked
it all out in my head
first, had it all in
my mind for weeks,
you know, and it
was even hard not
to tell anybody,
even you. Well
anyhow, I had it
all set, and when he
got home I went
into action, quiet-
like, so he wouldn’t
notice or suspect,
as if he ever did
suspect anything
when he wasn’t
involved, you know.
Well, I had everything
all ready when he
came in the door,
but, you know, I
didn’t want to give
anything away
either, and so I
asked him about
the day he’d had
and, you know,
all the small talk
that we all make,
and I, you know,
really listened hard,
but he hadn’t much
to say, as usual,
just the usual, so
he had a beer or
two while I did
dinner and I’d
gotten a bottle of
wine at the grocery,
well, you know, I
thought that would
be the thing to do,
and he only looked
at me once or twice
and then he asked
me what it cost,
and whether this
was some kind of
celebration or
something here.
Well I almost
couldn’t keep my
smile in, and I said,
you know, that we
could afford to
broaden our horizons
once in a while. He
didn’t say anything
about that, but, you
know, he drank the
wine up real quick,
there wasn’t but half
a glass left for me.
But, that was all right
too, you know, what
I had in mind all
along. So after we ate,
he fell asleep the way
I knew he would,
and I, you know,
could get things set
up the way I’d planned.
I started by spreading
the rose petals from
right in front of his feet
all down the hallway
and right up to the edge
of the bed. All those
flowers cost me plenty,
you know, and then I
set all the candles out
and lighted them all
along the hall and
then, you know, I
turned all the lights
off and made myself
ready. I had gotten
some perfume, not
too expensive, you
know, and a new black
bra and panties, and,
I put a little perfume
behind each of my
ears and between
my breasts, like I’d
seen in the movies,
and even a little
down there, even
though I hadn’t seen
that in any movie,
and then, you know,
when everything
was ready and I was
waiting in the bed,
I called to him,
and he came cursing,
stumbling down the
hall and muttering
and I said, you know,
I’m in here, real
sweet-like, with those
rose petals smelling
wonderful I thought.
Well, but he, you
know, he said, what
is that funny smell
and he asked me if
the electricity had
went off, and I just
smiled to myself,
you know, thinking
I had got it all exactly
right and waiting,
you know, for him
there, and he finally
did come and it was
good for me too
for a change, you
know. Well he fell
asleep on top of me
right after and then,
you know, the next
day, it took me half
the morning, down
on my hands and
knees, to pick up
all those petals.

from Rattle #76, Summer 2022


William Virgil Davis: “It’s amazing what you overhear in public places, but the trick of the persona poem is try to catch an authentic voice—a particular test if the speaker is of the opposite sex.”

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