the north point inn

it’s called the north point inn
the place where my parents’ marrage ended
where my father and his lover
slept like spoons
spoons scooping up the cream
risen to the top layer
of their dreams
as if life
were one big hot
fudge sundae offering itself
to be eaten
while my mother drove around all night
with the cat
looking for his car
finally she hired a detective
found the woman
and her weekend out of town
called the husband
and ended my father’s spooning —
where he’d already buried
nine tenths of his light
and was waiting
for the final transformation
for the nit-picking tedium of his life
to bloom into pure white sugar —

the north point inn
is a plain brick rectangle
surrounded by cement
cement road cement sidewalk cement sky
back then it was called
the lake erie motel
it’s hard to imagine
any magic
coming out of something
so devoid of color
or growth
his lover must have wanted
her husband more than my father
wanted my mother
whom i blamed
she should have waited
it out she should
never have called a detective
or the woman’s husband
if her love was good
enough she would still have
my father
but i don’t think that now —
at least she did something
she didn’t just wait
in a plymouth duster
for her life to end
like my father
who hooked himself up
to the exhaust
in a much greener place

don’t worry —
a ranger found him
he’s still trying to live his dreams
far from the lake erie motel
which i passed today —
i thought of spoons
my mother wouldn’t sleep that way
thought it was “common”
i like it
fitting perfectly into my lover’s body
but i can never fall asleep

wendy shaffer


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