Love in the Time of the Cuban Missile Crisis
by Robert Eugene Rubino
An hour after our idolized lionized Catholic president tells the nation
we might all get blown to kingdom come any day now
you exit your parents’ warmly lit living room
& step all bundled up into the windless chill of a late October night
a zit-faced skinny-as-a-stickball bat 14-year-old looking for the exotic
16-year-old girl next door walking her pint-sized full-sized dog
— with nuclear annihilation imminent you figure
you might as well bare your soul & tell her how you feel.
For nearly two weeks Kennedy & Khrushchev & Cuba
hold civilized existence in a chokehold of existential crisis
as lines into churches of all denominations spill onto the streets
and for nearly two weeks you find comfort in cold clear nights
walking with the exotic girl next door as if in a fever talking
about doomsday desires & diminutive dogs until like roiling wintry clouds
the crisis & fever pass — the former with an extended collective exhale
the latter with a singular sigh leaving a small surgical scar on your psyche.
Since retiring in 2013 after more than thirty years as a daily newspaper copy editor and weekly columnist, Robert Eugene Rubino has published poetry and prose in various literary journals, including The Esthetic Apostle, High Shelf Press, Forbidden Peak Press and Hippocampus. He’s old enough to have seen Willie Mays at the Polo Grounds and smart enough to solve Monday’s New York Times crossword puzzle (other days not so much). He lives in Palo Alto, California.