Coming up from the basement,
I recognize the doo-doo-do-do-doooo opening bar
of “Strangers in the Night,” whistled
in an absent-minded birdcall.
by the guy from the fuel company,
here to tune up the furnace for the winter.
As far as he goes. Over and over.
A blast from the furnace
when he jacks up the thermostat.
up and under like a pre-dawn cricket song.
Exchanging glances floats through my brain
in a Sinatra voice. Something something
What were the chances?
A pop song from half a century ago.
Always heard it was about a gay tryst,
but it seemed to me
it could just as easily be a man and a woman.
Gary, the furnace guy,
looks to be in is early thirties,
young enough to be my son.
Odd, I think, he’s whistling that song.
Two lonely people, we were
After an hour, Gary trudges up the steps,
lugging his toolbox and equipment.
“Okay, replaced the oil filter,
installed a new nozzle,
did basic maintenance on the boiler system.
You’re good to go. Sign here and here.”
Our fingers touch when he hands me the pen.
A spark of static electricity.
“Whoa!” Gary apologizes.
“Must be from working on the boiler.”
We exchange a glance.
Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives and Reviews Editor for Adirondack Review. His most recent books include American Zeitgeist(Apprentice House) and a chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts ( Main Street Rag Press). Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.