Joy Katz

Just a Second Ago

I had an urge to toss my drink across the visiting poet’s shirt.
Hello. I liked your reading.
Red wine spreading into the whiteness
It was a wonderful reading
of his shirt. My hand—my glass—
is still full.
Yes. People starting to drift to the cheese and bread.
At the wedding, the organist stops,
the minister smiles benignantly. She thinks of touching the bride’s breast.
Hello. I liked your wedding.
It’s amazing: traffic stays on its side of the road.
What keeps it there, really? I trust
no one will stand up and scream when I am a bride.
I don’t laugh when I hear someone has died.
You’re sitting there quietly right now
very quiet.
The slightest noise could cause an avalanche.
It’s scary when someone gets pushed onto
Hello. I liked your reading.
the subway tracks.
So scary when someone walks into Wendy’s
and shoots the people eating.
What I almost did
just a second ago
while you were crossing the street

while you were finishing your lunch

while you were handing me your terrible secret—

Joy Katz
“Just a Second Ago” first appeared in The Cincinnati Review 1:2.