Chivalry in Men, Idiocy in

“….chivalry in men is idiocy in women:
men can get out of a rescue a lot more easily, once they
get into it.” –Margaret Atwood

Where was Ms. Atwood on that bright
April day when I first spied you
in the park on Dunsmore Avenue,
eyes red, fifteen, and grinning like an idiot?

Catch me, you said, and I was game.

We tore through the playground like children,
played tag among the bucket swings
and raced the smiling ponies
on their legs of coiled spring.

Later, at the top of the slide,
we traded secrets in a house of bars—
fire poles or falls our only way out.

Was it there in the shadow of the blue
San Gabriel mountains that I decided
you needed saving? Did I sense the broken
parts of you and vow to make you whole?

She was right about one thing.
I rode that merry-go-round till the end.
Finished flat on my back,
toes dragging in the dirt, and you
gone to buy some other girl
a snow cone at the snack bar.

Kathleen Latham placed second in our 2020 Chapbook
Contest with her entry, Running into an Ex, and with her consent we have selected this poem for our issue.

Erik Wilbur is from Bullhead City, Arizona (or Sacramento, California, depending on the context of the question). Currently, he teaches writing at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu City. He is also the program director of Real Toads Poetry Society, a nonprofit literary organization that provides opportunities for residents of Northwestern Arizona communities to learn about, experience, and share works of literary art. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Fresno State University in 2018.