By Peter Maeck

The year we were a State Farm agent
we would rather now forget.
We hated scaring folks: Imagine that
your house incinerates or God forbid
you’re stricken with a fatal this or that
(it could be symptomless) or there’s
a workplace accident, you’re dis-
membered then what happens to
your spouse and kids? They’re up
the so-called creek.
Adrift, we turned to animal husbandry but we wept
to slaughter pigs; we planted beets but with the drought
we just gave up the naïve hope of ever making
gentleman farming work. We entered politics
sometime after that, ran for a City Council seat,
lost in a rout. We drowned ourself in drink.
Our spouse absconded with Meg and Mike
the twins and sued us for divorce.
Depressed, to say the least, we drove
out on a ferry boat, the one that goes from Boxport
out to Riley’s Point. We gunned it, shot straight out
the other end, right through the safety
chain, think Thelma and Louise. Our canyon, though, was
harbor water, sludgy, twelve feet deep. We didn’t die, they
pulled us out. The Camry was a total loss,
of course, the motor’s scrap once salt gets in it.
Stupid the attempt to drown ourself
in shallow water, better odds
out farther in the rip.
The blues run there, we caught one
at the age of six, in our father’s
Boston Whaler, never had a
better day than that one since.
One day a life can make.

Peter Maeck’s new poetry collection, Aperture, will be published in 2022. His stage plays and dance scenarios, including for Pilobolus and MOMIX Dance Theatres, have been produced worldwide. Maeck, who was a U.S. State Department Cultural Specialist in Tanzania and Morocco, holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College and an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University.

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