When I first met Skully,
I was an ingenue in a silly fragile plastic body--
a nursery flat, a starter bed,
not yet Anne Of Queer Gables
magnificently not giving a shit.
I believed that Skully was stuffed like a bell pepper,
jammed to bursting with thoughts, dreams and
wisdom on every subject;
I didn't know, as we lay together under the ceiling fan,
that he was as vacant and distant as outer space.
He PEZed me kisses, bought me roomsful of useless junk,
and twisted me silly like a bonsai tree.
I let him.
Daydream starlets and archery targets both have curves,
and sit still for the incoming--
I spent a decade with Skully that way,
as if I'd done it with a porcupine and was proud of the damage.
Now, he sits like an unfortunate date brought to dinner--
big-eyed as a girl, smiling too much,
and adding nothing to the conversation.
Still, I can't bear to throw him out,
and so the dogs lug him around like a trophy,
scoring and striping him with their joyful teeth marks
and losing his mandible under the fold-out sofa.
My girlfriends tolerate him.
After all, he's dead, and won't start any stupid crap about threesomes.
The next door kids ask for him sometimes,
and they bowl him at empty pop bottles in the driveway.
I confess, though,
that late at night, when it's stormy, and I'm alone,
I pause before bouncing him down the basement stairs, and I say,
"Thank you, Skully,
for keeping me from having to be alone
in the years before I bloomed into my need for heart, flesh, soul,
and not just solid bone."
Then I lay one on his grinning kisser
and even add a little tongue
just to tease him
for the lack that made me leave him like a southbound bird.
"pop" is a Michiganism for what I think most people call "soda".