Bill expects to get paid, but does not.
|Billfold Bill, nicknamed Dental
because when he smiled teeth
commanded his countenance,
worked like a Tasmanian Devil
in Jen’s yard, uprooting bushes,
raking soil, transplanting coleus
and edging in geometric neatness.
If laziness was the moss beneath
sandstone slabs, then Bill was a
sunflower reaching for the sky.
Levon, Levon likes his money, Bill
hummed an Elton John song, subbing
Billfold for Levon, maintaining a flush-
free face—I will get paid for my work,
Bill asserted to himself as A.M. sun
blazed, and beads of sweat flowed
like salty jet-skiers down and across
his aquiline nose.
Bill’s confidence dug in deep,
like the tined rake on black mulch.
He mind-counted money he had not
yet received, then leveled mounds of
mulch to an evenness allowed by such
clumpy material. Bill grinned sinfully;
even the sun blinked. He hauled two
granite stones from a faraway flower bed
to accentuate all the coleus and mulch.
Then he was done; his fingers itched,
his hamstrings whined as Bill gnawed
gum tree bark then spat it out, all the
while trekking through wet grass.
His rubber boots flopped and rubbed
heels the wrong way. He pulled a green
cart which carried tools and yellow bucket.
Bill laughed, ignored sore; sang Levon.
But he received no money that day—not
for his work, nor for the mulch. Instead, he got
hot dogs, baked beans and sunflower seeds.
His smile absent, Billfold Bill burned, basically.
Driving home, he began to sing Rocket Man.