Jefferson and Matilda, scanning menus for a choice,
Long time work mates who became partners for lunch,
No buffets, at a Tex Mex, you must pick and choose,
Jefferson struggled for subtle ways to leave her clues.
They were comfortable enough with each, to double dip,
To both's surprise, thinking aloud, he let it slip,
He's turned in his notice, a full two weeks tendered,
Jefferson, waving a veritable white flag of surrender.
Matilda showed calm to the core, though quite confused,
A part of her was in panic, but show it? She refused.
He explained, the no fraternization policy was the cause,
The one they sign with the firm; deep breath and pause...
"Soon I will be able to ask you out, on a proper date."
This was his way to avoid the problems that would create.
The entrees arrived, server warning, the plates were hot,
To the server, "More dip, please." To him, "I think not."
Different table, same place, two weeks had passed away.
Hostess overheard her congratulate him on his special day.
Sarcasm in her tone, tension building, she's about to break,
When panic ensues, what with singing and a birthday cake!
Restaurant people carry on like they hate singing that song,
But they are found to be smiling when time to sing along,
Jefferson silently cried "Foul," whipped cream to his face,
He had the attention of all but one person in that place.
A quick trip to running water, what could make this worse?
Matilda, laughing, "I can't believe you had dessert first."
He saw an opening, a potential opportunity to be seized;
He asked her on a date again, again she was not pleased.
He asked one good reason, thinking, "I hope she doesn't."
Her swift reply, "It would be like dating my first cousin."
A pause, neither saying a word, then, "Pick me up at eight."
Not knowing what possessed her to concede, "Don't be late."
For weeks, Jefferson pitched and wooed the prize he'd won.
It seemed every date was like starting over, not a lot of fun.
A normal fellow would have seen this all as cause for alarm;
Not Jefferson, who's only resolve was to turn up the charm.
This brings us to a very special evening, anniversary bind;
To show up with gifts, hearts and flowers, was in his mind.
In advance, on a lunch break, he visited a florist to find,
They did not have his chosen flowers, none the right kind.
He called in to the office, asking for the rest of the day,
His wish granted, they were not busy, off to find a bouquet,
Looking past his car, he spied a tavern, thinking libation,
In moderation, would open revolving doors of inspiration.
Those fruity drinks, served in tandem, in frosted glasses,
During what they call a happy hour; my how the time passes;
A glance at the door as it opens, afternoon sun streams in,
He recalls where he is going, won't remember where he's been.
He drives away, at a time he should not be behind the wheel,
Mere blocks from his house, his bumper lays a lick on steel.
The poor innocent mail box, leveled, taken down to the post,
It never saw him coming. He drives on, the mail box a ghost.
Pulling into his driveway (only requiring two or three tries),
Staggering from his vehicle, one might guess what he spies,
Much to his good luck, or perhaps this will be his misfortune,
He sees a garden full of flowers, and chooses to pick them.
Before hitting the shower, tossing them into the deep freeze,
So they don't wilt, as wilted flowers would surely not please.
An hour later, he is looking good, feeling better, time to go;
Reaching in for flowers, he discovers they're covered in snow.
Frosted flowers are not in order and today, will not suffice.
He eases back to the garden, and proceeds to pick them twice.
Seeing Mrs. Clancy wave, he drives away. They won't be missed.
She's not waving at the floral thief. She's shaking her fist!
Coming to her door, she greets Jefferson, hands behind him.
He offers her the token, once thought out, but taken on a whim.
Doubtful she smelled them, over alcohol on his baited breath,
He stuffs some in a water glass, the rest fall to their death.
She feigns indifference. Knowing better, he calls her bluff.
He offers an enthusiastic "Happy Anniversary," off the cuff.
Clueless as to what he was implying, to her it meant nothing.
Her smile not forthcoming, truth be told, scowl was scathing.
This moment he became broken, too much weight on his shoulder.
For the first time, he had little or no desire to hold her.
It was not as though he'd killed someone, or shown disrespect;
She never considered, his melt down, a result of her neglect.
Rolling of her eyes was the final straw, he could take no more;
She turned her back for a moment, he opened and closed the door.
He made it home intact, wondering all the while, what went wrong.
He was rudely awakened on a Saturday morning by a siren's song.
He was greeted by a constable, with a warrant in hand to serve.
A complaint was filed, for stealing prize peonies by the curb.
Routine run of his tags showed he was the local mailbox culprit.
He was hand cuffed and put in the back of a squad car, to sit.
Bail was set low, so he gained his release with room to spare.
He did not miss time from work, until his court date to appear.
No one ever guessed that the boy had been falling down drunk.
Nothing was found in a routine going over of his cab or trunk.
The judge might not have made an example to her fullest powers,
Over a single (okay, there were two) transgression of flowers;
As fate would allow, her brother made a living delivering mail.
Still, she was lenient, to the point, Jefferson avoided jail.
Now, Matilda drives by his work and sees his car in its place,
But she never sees it in his driveway; gazing at an open space,
No idea he repairs pot holes on gravel roads, who could guess,
The result of receiving one hundred hours of community service.
By the time Jefferson had personal time, he was not to be found,
Unless one might spy a cabin house, on the outskirts of town.
It seems he met a lady on a county road, in a vehicle, stranded.
He came to her rescue, was cordial; she found his wit candid.
The last time Matilda cruised by his house, sign said was sold.
She surmised, Jefferson had gone off the deep end, life on hold.
Hers was sure in order, a new man in her life, no sense of loss,
Workplace dalliance can be overlooked, when it is with the boss.
That Clancy woman finally took home a ribbon at the county fair.
No one had ever seen peonies with such shimmer, sheen and glare.
She never shared, the secret of her success was a killer frost.
She almost did not enter, counting this year's crop a total loss.
Who would ever have thought, frozen flowers could do the deal?
Had Jefferson only known, he might not tossed his into a field.
Those folks with the fallen mailbox, rented a box, lock and key,
At the local post office, their names on front as the addressee.
The judge failed to win last election, and here is how it went:
She was seen as soft on crime. It was said she was too lenient.
Now she writes a column for the local paper. She is good at that.
A paperboy's bike rolls a sheared metal post. His tire goes flat.
Michael Todd (2015)