Newspaper Temptation

He climbed the ladder
to wash windows before company
was due to dine outside
on stellar lemon salmon
from the Weber where he cooked
without the taint of lighter fluid.

His left hand grasped a ladder rung
while his right hand sprayed Windex.
She knew him to be erudite.
He read the daily news
thoroughly before he bunched it
to wipe windows to a shine.

Then, when she saw brief flames
rise from the metal chimney
to infuse the briquette pillows with a glow,
saw him spread the bed of coals
below the foil-sheeted grill,
she found it mildly arousing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge Series #15: Last Sentences, which required that the last sentence in the text must be used as given. Read other Creative Challenge winners. To find out how to participate, go to Creative Challenges.



Mary Ellen Talley has received two Pushcart Nominations for her poetry. Her work has been published in Raven Chronicles, U City Review and Ekphrastic Review, as well as in anthologies, All We Can Hold and Ice Cream Poems. She is a former speech-language pathologist (SLP) for Seattle Public Schools.




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