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An Inability to Focus

by Charles Rafferty

When she asked if Jerry had protection, he showed her the black square of the Trojan. It had been in his wallet for so many months it looked like the wrapper was concealing a monocle. It didn’t look trustworthy in the dim light of her dorm room, and he thought about how dumb the name “Trojan” was. After all, the Trojans were responsible for the most famous security breach in all of literature. Calling a rubber a Trojan was like naming an airline Nosedive or Fireball. Jerry’s uncle had died in a plane crash. He had forgotten the fact until that moment, and although Jerry had never met this particular uncle, he was a piece of family lore handed down. There was a picture of him on his mother’s piano. Incredibly, Jerry’s uncle was wearing a monocle in the photograph. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Could it have been a joke? Could the fashions have changed that drastically in just a single generation? And why was he thinking of old-fashioned eyewear and airline disasters while the woman he’d been pining after for so many weeks was finally causing him to lose altitude above the snowfield of her skin?

Charles Rafferty‘s tenth book of poetry is The Unleashable Dog (2014, Steel Toe Books). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, The Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. His stories have been accepted at Sonora Review, Cortland Review, and The Southern Review. His collection of short fiction is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (2013, Fomite Press). Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.

Lead image: “Close-up of a condom in a blue jeans pocket” (via Flickr user Ivan Radic)