“Young and Tender
Zephyr Summer Squash Only $1.25 Per Lb.!”
says the sign
at the farmers’ market. Each one is a light-skinned zucchini
dipped halfway down
into a vat of bright yellow wax and then pulled out. I fill
a plastic bag
with these hybrid vegetables, take them home to Dana, who pours
them into a white
bowl, weighs one in her palm, and exclaims, “How beautiful!
They look like
incredibly innocent dicks!” She always blurts out whatever
comes to mind.
“Remember,” I ask her, “our first date at the Mine Shaft before
they changed its name
to Zanzibar’s?” Years later it became the Silver Fox. “We danced until
last call to the Neville Brothers.”
When Aaron sang “Amazing Grace” a cappella in his wavering
whisper tenor, everyone
stopped dancing and listened. “I remember when the Neville Brothers
were the Meters
and played Tipitina’s in the French Quarter,” replies Dana.
“I hung out
with Kurt Kasson & the Wheeler Sisters. They all lived together
at the corner of Desire
and Claiborne, but the band broke up. Joey sang such sassy scat!”
An investment banker now
for Smith Barney, Jo Ellen uses that velvet voice
on the telephone
to reassure her clients when their stocks go south.
She lent us
her New York City apartment for two nights on our honeymoon.
She had all her shoes
lined up, shelf after shelf in the walk-in closet—purple pumps,
blue high heels, orange sandals,
calf-length, white leather boots. I counted 77 pairs, which meant
that she could wear
each one four to five times a year. They’d never wear out.
was 22 years ago. Dana’s rheumatoid arthritis makes
her joints ache
when it turns cold. Her bones are our barometer. We are no longer
young and tender
zephyr summer squash. We listen to an old bootleg CD. Joey’s
high scatting harmonizes
with Lisa’s low silver notes on “What a Little Moonlight
In 1973, everyone was 19 or 20. Whither with the summer
zephyr do we
zither? Late August’s full moon rises—golden zero on the night’s
black balance sheet.