Fairy Tale with Ex-Wife

Andrew Hudgins

Summer 2008

After thirty suspect miles, I called,
a rusty PURE sign creaking overhead,
and we were right: we were wrong.
The sign had been a sign, we sighed sourly,
as the storm we were trying to beat
beat down on us. By the time we slid, white-faced,
into the gravel drive of the fix-it shop,
the icy trees burned with horizontal light
amplified over fields of sleet.

The used TV couldn’t get a signal
out here, the woman said, but it worked fine,
and we could always bring it back. All night
we huddled in our coats on the shop’s gold shag
and shivered underneath a brown plaid blanket.
At eight she handed us a pot of watery lentils,
spiked with small twigs, maybe rosemary—
we didn’t know. You looked at me and said,
“Hansel.” “Gretel,” I chuckled drowsily.

At dawn we skittered to the interstate,
and at a Waffle House split a scrambled egg
till the road cleared or we thought it had.
and drank, for almost an hour, our bottomless cup.

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