loneliness is holding a piece of cardboard
under your new kitchen cabinets
as the handyman drills holes for the hinges
that will hold the door in place
and you are catching the sawdust
so he won't make a mess
as he looks down your blouse and asks you to lunch
I know you like lunch and you say you can't
and he presses why not and aw, come on
until he says don't tell me you have a new man already
and you say Victor, a name you make up on the spot
your handyman says take it from me I'm divorced twice
it's too early to date exclusively and you say
I hear you, but Victor is really something
this is the last trip your handyman needs to make
to finish the job he started four months ago
when your ex was trying to get alimony
from you and the handyman said no man should take money
from a girl and that's really low and you loved him
for being on your side and paid him cash
under the table and he was always on time
and swept up because he'd been a single dad
Victor is a champ, a winner, a conqueror,
your therapist will tell you later
but for now you are holding on
as best as you can resisting the handyman
who you actually like but everyone you trust
has said don't do it and you deserve better
because the handyman is a bankrupt chain smoking alcoholic
who's looking for a place to live
most probably with you
a sober employed woman allergic to smoke
and you are thinking what do my friends know
when the handyman says let's take a shower together
and see what happens you almost drop the cardboard
and the mound of sawdust
that you wish didn't look so much like a mound
and you say are you crazy and the handyman sulks
well it was worth a try and you ask
why did you wait so long to ask me out
knowing he would have had a much better chance
when he first started the tile work
and you probably would have given anything
just to have someone hold you
he says I wanted it to be all proper
so that we could see each other
when I wasn't working for you anymore
you give him the last beer in your fridge
that you've kept stocked just for him
and he folds the bubble wrap
the doors were swaddled in saying keep this
I know you like bubble wrap which seems like
the most romantic thing anyone has ever said
to you and that this handyman knows you
better than any other man ever has
he folds up the cardboard packaging
to take out to the trash and you follow him
trying to think of something that would make him laugh
when he leaves he shakes your hand
and says just for the record I hate Victor's guts
and you almost say me too
How It Will End
Denise Duhamel

How It Will End

Denise Duhamel

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