Robert Neuteboom, 2/1/2010

Current Occupation: Professor of General Education at Rasmussen College in Fargo, ND
Former Occupation: Assistant Manager of the Grounds Department at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, UT
Contact Information: I currently resident in Fargo, North Dakota, where I teach Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing courses at Rasmussen College. My work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Red Weather, The Houston Literary Review, and the South Dakota Review. I hold an MA in English from the University of South Dakota and an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University – Moorhead.


Retirement Day

Last day of work after forty years,
she stands at the threshold of freedom—
finally, time to grow cucumbers and to raise
Pintos on a sour patch of weedy pasture.

Time, what she’s waited for,
this chance to strap the years to her feet
like a pair of new shoes. Not the beat up,
old, leather boots they truly are,
frayed at the toes and ripped at the seams,
weathered like aged skin.
But fresh, just out of the box,
fragrant with the perfume
of tennis balls and springy as youth.

After cake and commemoration, a watch,
and retirement paperwork—
her name on those short, black lines—
she struggles up four steps to her porch,
inspects the untended strip of garden below—
her back and knees already screaming at the task—
cups a hand over her eyes and scans the pasture
so thick with weeds she can’t see the ground.
Weeks of tilling flash painfully through her mind.

She sighs, opens the front door, goes inside.
After awhile, she sleeps on her recliner,
her worn shoes, bent from use, collapsed on the floor;
thick mechanical vibrations of sitcom laughter
carry discordantly into another bruised evening.

The moon sags fat and jaundiced in the sky
like a bloated clock face without hands,
the roads below black satin ribbon
tugging at the neck of a burial dress.

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