You Are Probably Telling This With a Sigh Imagine, if you can, a man with the deepest voice you’ve ever heard sitting at a strangely firelit table, intimate in an otherwise teeming bar, looking at you in way you will remember 23 years later, on a random Wednesday, while you’re folding a pair of your daughter’s leggings and waiting for a second pot of coffee to finish brewing. Imagine, if you had left that night, away from the strangely firelit table, and ventured into something less sure. Perhaps deeply contenting. Perhaps disastrous. Where you might sit again, 23 years later, across from a man, running your finger around the rim of a coffee cup, counter-clockwise, in some subconscious spell of time reversal. Imagine, if there were only two roads, in a calm yellow wood, and not the tangled many-paths of options, like an intricate burst of blood-vessels pulsing life to places you can’t control, but might try to, or at least hope to look all the way to the end of a shady track, beyond the protective undergrowth to see not what but who is waiting.
Got a late start today to the poem creation, and when I finally got there, I let my tired mind experiment. I attempted to follow the NaPoWriMo.net prompt calling for a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.
Imagine a mahogany dinner table, a family of five around it.
Forget it, if you can, the nightly rituals you’ve seen and lived.
See the pea green plates, a wedding gift to the parents
The dull eyes of those parents who once made each other
the wife has always hated, but they are good quality and not
tingle, who used to bite each other’s lower lips during kisses.
yet cracked or chipped, even after 18 years of use. Funny, right?
There was once an entire month where they didn’t touch at all.
How the things we care least about can be so steadfast? Like the
Shell, it was like a shell, growing over each of them. House beetles,
meal the husband made, because it’s Monday, and that’s his night,
black and prone to hiding in their own corners. Quiet, creeping
so the kids expect something simple, mostly pre-packaged — spaghetti
life. After awhile they didn’t have to try to forget, it boiled away
with a jar of bought sauce, or hot dogs with a side of carrots because
on its own, down to the dry bottom of a saucepan, the sickening smell,
you gotta have some vegetables, right? And after they’ve eaten,
smoke, clouding up the kitchen, choking down the hall to the kids’
it will be the wife who cleans up, while the others take to screens
rooms, though the parents didn’t notice because it was all so grey.
or books, for the daughter. In the kitchen the wife will sigh, and
The windows didn’t open anymore, or no one thought to try them.
the cat will meow, almost in response, but mostly because he’s hungry.
Fish, in an aquarium, floating limp at the top, but inside the tank, green
Tomorrow, or 6 months, imagine it again, but cracked, chipped and with
real plants, the son insisted on it. They swayed when the filter glugged.
a gleaming blade, because reality can slice you in half if you let it.
They started to flower, bright red buds everywhere, if you can believe it.