A garrulous Texas engineer,
my neighbor stands in the doorway
when I answer his knock.
Got your book of poems yesterday,
he drawls, smiling broadly at me
and the two visitors inside.
Loved ’em, he adds heartily.
Surprised and delighted, I thank him.
What I’m sayin’ is, he adds, I saw
their meanin’! I saw you from the inside.
It was like you spread your legs for me!
My jaw drops. My visitors’ eyes
grow round. Yep, that’s exactly how it was.
He grins at all of us:
You spread your legs for me.
One of the interesting things about living in Texas is the wild cultural dissimilarities the state contains—for example, the frontier roughness and the urbanely genteel. My engineer friend is sensitive and picked up on the vulnerabilities expressed in my poems, but, as his wife says, “He has no filter.” And he doesn’t know the language of poetic expression. Nevertheless, I know a compliment when I hear one.