I like the idea of a spratchet,which today I learnedis the plastic dividerused in checkout linesthat says this is almost mineand this is almost yours.I like how it helps two strangersnot skinny dip in the reservoirsof each other's bank accounts.And there's nothing rude about a spratchet—it's as polite as plastic can possibly be.Unlike the bolt click behind a dooror the whining hinge of a fence gate,the spratchet keeps thingsonly subtly separate.Gently, the cashier lowersmy oyster crackers into a bag.He divides the dry from the frozen.I nod my spratchet nod. At workI shake with my practicedspratchet hand. At home,I put the groceries in the cupboardand kiss my love, and even our lipsare little spratchets. I cannot know her.She cannot know me. No matterhow intimate. Not really.That's what we have to agree on.That's what I intend on forgetting. [End Page 83]
Keith Leonard is the author of Ramshackle Ode (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). He lives in Columbus, Ohio.