The Maynard
Spring 2014

Steve Klepetar

I Invent a Character Before Lunch

He’s middle aged, no old, and he has a grizzled white beard.
He lives in the woods I think, in a small cabin with a porch.
There’s an ax stuck in an old stump, a pile of split logs, no
wait, it’s a suburb and he’s wearing jeans and a Vans tee shirt,
he’s in his fifties and he can’t quite make up his mind about
gay marriage. This is harder than I thought. His son works
in Shanghai, as an engineer, but he’s in his thirties (no wait,
clean shaven, maybe works in bank) and he thinks his son
may be gay, and he’s ok with that, really, he loves his son,
but he doesn’t know how he’d feel if he wanted to get married
to another man. Ok, so he’s in his sixties, a banker, but it’s his
daughter who may be gay and she lives in Florida, no California,
no maybe Phoenix, or somewhere it still might matter, like,
I don’t know, Tennessee? He remembers when she was little
like ten and didn’t like to wear dresses much and how
she learned to juggle from a book, with those little square
pillow things that came in a kit, he has a video of her
practicing. She had braids and freckles and was afraid
of snakes. He drives a cab, his own cab, for thirty years
now, all around the city and his daughter lives in Tennessee
and may be gay. Does she still juggle? Probably not,
she’s an artist now, a potter, she makes tea sets and vases,
no she’s a jeweler, she travels around to art shows and sells
earrings and necklaces made of silver with turquoise inlays
and she has a partner named Sally who makes vests out of
paper clips and he wonders if they may be gay, she wears
her hair short and she’s thin and wiry and very tan.
Sally’s hair is tangled gold, needs washing most of the time,
but very pretty really, so no, its not his daughter, his son
is in love with Sally who makes vests out of paper clips.
He makes jewelry or maybe he bakes bread and he’s worried,
when he drives his cab all day that Sally may be gay
and that his son, whom he loves, will never be happy because
the girl he loves can’t love him like that, no Sally is pregnant
and loves his son very much, he’s going to be a grandpa
and they’re coming for a visit this weekend, and I just can’t
make him come alive, he does nothing to surprise me
so I turn him lose and of course he crashes the damn cab
on a bridge in the rain and I have to start all over again.