Green Hills Literary Lantern



Dinner in Bed


They eat in bed again so they can stretch out

in their underwear comfortably after work

while watching The Simpsons on tv; first,

she brings him salad wedging the three

bottles of dressing between his hairy knees,

because he’s never sure until the very last

minute if he wants crumbled bleu cheese,

ranch or caesar; any arugula, boston lettuce,

or cucumber that they drop on their stomachs

they adeptly pierce with their forks like

the men who pick up garbage in the park

with pointed sticks, barely needing to take

their eyes off the tv for two seconds.


Smelling that the spaghetti sauce is ready,

she slides her legs over the mattress while

balancing the salad plates to take back

to the kitchen; unfortunately, a fork slides

off a plate but only leaves a small caesar

stain on the beige carpet next to the star

from coffee last week. Minutes later she

is back in the bedroom with bowls of

spaghetti and meat sauce. She hands him his

and again wedges the parmesan cheese shaker

between his knees because he knows exactly

how much he wants, oops, spilled a little

on her side while laughing at Homer, and

she maneuvers herself back onto the bed

reversing as if she’s parallel parking her

Toyota Camry and is soon slurping spaghetti,

head bent down, bowl held up to just beneath

her chin, still able to reach over to the maple

side table for her wineglass, oops, a splash

of red wine on the pillowcase, then Ben

and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey before falling

asleep in front of the flickering tv screen.






Jan Ball taught ESL at DePaul University in Chicago most recently in her professional life. Since she started submitting poems for publication in 1998, 177 of her poems have been published in journals such as: Atlanta Review, Calyx, Connecticut Review, Mid-America Review, Nimrod and Verse Wisconsin. Jan has published her two chapbooks: Accompanying Spouse (2011) and Chapter of Faults (2014) with Finishing Line Press. They are available on Amazon. Jan is a member of the Poetry Club of Chicago. Besides writing poetry, Jan wrote a dissertation at the University of Rochester in 1996:  Age and Natural Order in Second Language Acquisition. When not writing, working out or gardening at the family farm, Jan and her husband travel and like to cook for friends.