Dr. Poem shot the sleeves on his silk smoking jacket, leaned his head into the wing chair's leather and let his eyes wander the mysteries of the swirled plaster, the smoke from his hand carved meerschaum veiling, then revealing the trowel's abstracted curves. He was a man of science, culture, at ease in his own skin. But Dr. Poem knew real men did not stare at the drifting clouds imagining a kaleidoscopic lava lamp of white paint on blue. No, real men rode Harleys, kissing the grained asphalt with two wheels, as they leaned left, right, left weaving full throttle between the traffic jammed cars of evening frustration. Dr. Poem knew it was better to sail the plaster sea than sit idling on the 5 to the dulcet tones of NPR gently offering apocalyptic gloom and marimba'd interludes, but he sensed somewhere deep in a place he didn't really know that this was not quite enough. He hungered for a hunger in his gut as if life could be hashbrowns at dawn, a brace of sausage patties, coffee bitter from sitting too long on the hot plate—or dappled shade, the sun sagging, and something swilled instead of sipped. Dr. Poem fingered the inside of his wrist as if checking his pulse, his exfoliated skin smooth as a simile. He sighed longing instead to have a hide, a hide so tough there would be no inside, no self looking out its windows. In Dr. Poem's mind he saw himself becoming Mr. Hide. He closed his eyes as his skin tanned and thickened. He pulled heavy gloves over his callouses, kicked down with his boot, engine revving as it caught. The cycle reared and Dr. Poem wheelied through the bay window, spraying seeds of sunlit glass as his studded tire rutted the fine lawn, exhaust fumes eddying over the curved brown slash of his wake.
Tim Hunt's publications include the collections Fault Lines and The Tao of Twang (forthcoming) and the chapbooks Redneck Yoga and Thirteen Ways of Talking to a Blackbird. He has been awarded the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Prize and twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He and his wife Susan live in Normal, Illinois.