“Making Guacamole at Midnight” by A.M. Pattison

Running through the sprinklers
before telling him goodbye
she thought about making guacamole
scraping the green from its black shell


He’s going to fight in Iraq
He doesn’t know what he’s fighting for
And she wishes he could stay
They could have made love
a second time before he left


The night before she asked
if he was afraid
he said it’s only human
He was cleaning his gun
and she half joked, told him
not to shoot her, and he took
it seriously, said her name,
“It’s not loaded”


And she tilted her head back
so he and the walls wouldn’t see
the tears licking her eyelids
Went to the kitchen and ate another cookie
said she’d start her new diet on Monday


She was wearing bright orange and white
Her hair strung out as it wetted
and she laughed and lay down for bed
wishing he would lie next to her


But some other girl claimed him
and made a scene about telling him goodbye


That’s why she had said nonchalantly
“Give me a hug so I can go to bed”


Chest pressed against damp breasts
she inhaled the side of his neck
his shaggy hair cut off with a number one
gelled up, so unlike his natural style


Listened to outside’s muffled conversation
Late into the night till 3 AM
Decided she wouldn’t park
in his space again while the tears
joined her head on the pillow
like a wash of confetti
from the corners of her eyes







A.M. Pattison is an assistant professor of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, where she teaches composition, creative writing, and literature. She currently serves on the editorial board of Whale Road Review. Her poems have appeared in Failed Haiku, Roadrunner, Oysters & Chocolate, and Southwestern Review.