Howard J. Kogan

Say Grace

What I like about Grace is that she’s easy
to be with the way girls who like guys are
she has a combination of sweet ingenue looks
with a sparingly used, but perfectly timed mouth
like a trucker I find endlessly entertaining.
We’d dated years ago, married others, divorced.
When we met again, she seemed the same Grace
except for the addition of a very noticeable cross.
We went out to dinner, had fun knocking our exes,
I wondered why we’d stopped seeing each other.
I couldn’t remember. Grace couldn’t remember.
We’d made love back when we were seeing each other
and I was thinking, Let’s go back to my place,
but didn’t say it because it was early and that cross.
When dinner arrived, Grace asked me to say Grace,
I said, “I’m a little rusty, you say it.” She did.
I went back to thinking about her coming to my place.
She had a different plan, she wanted me to come to
a Bible study class the next evening. I told her my plan.
She said, “I’m born again; I don’t do that anymore,
not outside the sanctified state of holy matrimony.
Come to my Bible study, you’ll love our Pastor!”
“After that,” I asked, “can we go to my place?”
She was getting pissed; “Listen,
no one can enter the temple of my body
now without first fucking marrying me.”

I couldn’t help but smile, she was irresistible.
What? She said.
“I was thinking of Oscar Levant’s line about Doris Day,
‘I knew her before she was a virgin.’”
She smiled.
I asked, “What time’s the class?”