a lunger on a hospital sheet
embraces the last spring
bursts into blossom with scarlet poppies
with every coughing fit
TONY: Hm. I wonder…
TATI: Good luck with such a tedious task. I’m going to the sex shop before it closes. Do you need anything?
TONY: Yes, I do. While you’re there, would you purchase me an answer that will scrub away the question mark that lingers above your poem ‘lethal bloom’?
TATI: I appreciate your sense of humour, Tony. Will you die from curiosity during the next hour?
TONY: I’m not a cat, so… no.
TATI: Then I’ll be back soon. You’ll have a chance to prepare some genuinely interesting questions. Not like the last time.
TONY: How long must a poem be to be considered a legitimate poem?
TATI: You men are too preoccupied with sizes. How long must a penis be to be considered a legitimate penis?
TONY: Says the woman who’s going to a sex shop.
TATI: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s shortest poem is one letter long. It’s by Aram Saroyan, and comprises a four-legged version of the letter ‘m’.
TONY: Damn. They’ll accept anything these days, won’t they?
TATI: Yes. You’re unbelievably quick-witted today. What happened?
TONY: What can I say? I’ve had my cornflakes. Anyway, back to your poem…
TATI: Back to my poem.
TONY: Yes. Were you worried that it might be considered a little on the short side?
TONY: Okay then. I must say I do admire how you’ve managed to pack so much meaning into so few lines of poetry. That takes real skill.
TATI: Thank you. Again, do you need anything from the sex shop? There’s a big clearance sale on. Buy two, get one free. You can have the free one.
TONY: As long as it’s not a dildo then I don’t mind. You know, we haven’t even discussed the poem’s themes yet. I’m beginning to get the feeling you don’t want to talk about it.
TATI: What? You said you’re not a cat, and I can’t wait forever! And by the way, I will choose whatever I want for you, so beggars can’t be choosers!
TONY: This won’t take too long. I promise. All I want to know is what your poem’s about.
TATI: Life. Death. Spring.
TONY: Wow. You really unveiled the mystery there.
TATI: Tony, I’m late. I need to buy stockings and an eye patch!
TONY: I can’t imagine you in stockings. But you with an eye patch… now that would be way cool!
TATI: So, I may go after all?
TONY: Sigh. Fine. Go. Far be it from me to delay you on your all important quest!
Tati rushes out the door, slamming it behind her. She rushes back in mere moments later.
TONY: Did you forget something?
TATI: Yes, you idiot! I forgot to check my watch! The sex shop is closed already, so there is no point me going now!
TONY: Hey, that only happened because you wasted time not answering a simple question!
TATI: Sigh. Ask your questions. Anyway, there’s no fun at a hospital without stockings and an eye patch.
TONY: At a hosp—OH! I get it! You wanna indulge in a little Tarantino cosplay, yes?
TATI: No cosplays, silly Tony! Just some volunteering in the tuberculosis department.
TONY: Erm. Okay. It’s probably best if you don’t tell me about your perverted extracurricular activities.
TATI: Germane to the matter, I believe you had dozens of questions about my poem.
TONY: Oh, no no no! I’m done with that. I have no more questions. Besides, I’m tired. I think I’ll just rest here for a bit.
Tati finally seems to be lost for words. Tony plonks himself down on the sofa, his arms folded behind his head. Tati shrugs to herself, lights a cigarette, and plonks herself beside him.
TONY: Those will kill you, you know.
TATI: I know.
by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018