I was straining for grapefruit,
intent on tiptoe,
citrus corpses underfoot. You
were loading up your workman’s truck, ready
to shoot the breeze. And you surely did
hold forth on air conditioning in the Valley
in and since the mid-20th century,
on capacitors and shysters, and I knew
you were the journeyman master
for the quirky condenser we inherited
in our small palace. I said
my husband needs to meet you.
You talked way past signals
that I had to head home.
Months later, our unit fritzed.
We paid twice and heard its time was up,
while your capacitor conspiracy theory wonk wonked
in my head like the Metrolink horn,
a staple comfort in the neighborhood.
I looked and looked and looked
for your card. I rang the grapefruit house bell.
And you were true to your word.
You talked and talked and talked,
full of complaints, but also,
bingo!, uncovering a sham job
meant to fail. I got us a refund.
I called you two weeks ago.
Then last Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, willing
to wait. The afternoon heat isn’t insufferable
yet. We talked diabolical equipment,
your thanks for my call, you helping your wife
pick dishes for Passover.
You said kindly,
not irascible now,
I’ll be there at 2.
Then tomorrow morning.
Then at noon.
On my way.
There in fifteen.
That last time
I planned to ask you
if you’d eaten.
Leftovers were warm
on the stove.
Did you meet
after we spoke?
I hope, sir, it went
as you would
have hoped for.
#4 of 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Writing Month, April 2017
Image by John Livzey