Begin with Meg Ryan faking it, astonishingly well,
for a starry-eyed Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally.
Responses from the eatery throng in a crowded diner
reducible to the line about wanting a little of That.

Meg’s character is no screamer. Just loud enough
to make news of war what it always is, the Expected.
To paraphrase Kris Kristofferson: Since the first I had,
the worst I had was good. Luckily, archival footage

doesn’t survive or exist for most of us. Take L. W.
who insisted we have sex in a strange bed in the loft
above a sleeping friend and his wife. Consider how,
even with pillows to muffle pleasure cries—her idea—

nothing stifled her ecstasies. Consider the next morning:
the two of us famously shy upon reflection. I’d been told
from a snickering apartment manager, more than once,
to keep it down. Never mind the manufacture of units;

never mind the drywall between domiciles was paper-thin.
What happens in Newark, Ohio should stay in Newark, Ohio.
But it’s work, love. Why shouldn’t getting the desired result
become a communal matter of fact—like that the universe

is 13.7 billion years old—a thing for which we have proof?
Is it bragging to reflect on all that it took to allow another
to overlook how sound carries? To disregard physics and
acoustical mechanics and inhabit an hour with abandon?

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.


  1. For the record, what happens in Newark, Ohio, stays in Newark, Ohio. Not much leaves Newark. Or so it seems to a Cleveland boy.

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