The game show host knows the answer
you haven’t yet given
will be wrong. Somewhere in the tangle
of synapses, hiding
behind shy or burned out neurons
is the fact that Martin guitars are made
in Pennsylvania or is it Fender
or is that California. Back in college,
there was that waif of a sociology
major who played guitar and sang Tracy Chapman
songs in tune She had green eyes that sometimes
looked brown in the right light and when she was happy.
You always regretted not trying to kiss
her more than once. You could have gotten
married, had two kids. She would have taught
them to play guitar. And you would have answered
this question seven seconds ago.
You can’t stand digital watches;
Dad told you never to buy one. Any kind of watch
should be a gift from family or from a lover. But he never
explained (before he died) what to do if someone
gave you a digital watch. They are easier
to read in these countdown situations
and you still aren’t certain whether it’s Nazareth,
Pennsylvania or Fullerton, California. You are sure that
there are colleges near both towns. But that
doesn’t help and you are back to thinking about college again
wondering if those short nights with long shots
of Jack Daniels are now standing between you
and $50,000 in prize money.
You should know the answer. This is not calculus
or the conjugation of irregular verbs in Swahili.
Then again, last week a rocket scientist discovered
he wasn’t smarter than a fifth grader.
So you take a deep breath, clear her brownish-green
eyes from your alcohol addled brain
and rise to full game show height.
Then you stare down with a quizzical smile
as your father’s Timex expires.