by jake bauer
scared of the village
Down the hall, the couple is performing
the bedroom scene— mostly
instructional: how babies are made,
double lasso, and so forth. The one we are watching
is the foyer scene. The man plays
the role of the Man, putting on his cap
with the same foolish fortitude
he might any other night of his life.
In the kitchen scene, the couple kiss quickly over
tiramisu. They discuss city tax
code and recreational bird hunting.
The woman in the bathroom scene
is performing the role of the Woman, alone.
Splashing her face with water.
The play is called Scared of the Village.
At a predetermined instant, each version
of the couple will meet
in the den. They will walk in
and out of each other like specters, but we’ll not
be there to see it. We are watching
the foyer scene, in which it is possible
to vacate the premises. The lighting
is bright. I squeeze your hand so it feels
like the word sorry. You’re going
to love this, the Woman says
to her raincoat as she slips one arm in.
"Scared of the Village" was noted as Honorable Mention for our 2017 Up North Poetry Prize.
Jake Bauer's poetry has been recently published in Forklift, Ohio; Threepenny Review; Thrush; Poetry Northwest; The Bennington Review; Inter|rupture; among others. He lives in Philadelphia.