Two weeks before the move
You look hard at every cup,
Each one of your threadbare towels.
You envision sitting down on a rug far away
And pulling these things from a box.
Then you imagine a monastic existence,
A rug with no boxes. You've left
The cracked cups at the dump,
A bag of nice sweaters at Goodwill.
In the empty room you are proud
of the nothing you have. Then
In your mind the new doorbell rings.
Your neighbor has come
To introduce herself,
And she brought you yellow flowers,
In a cup she made herself.
photograph by Catherine Jamieson
My husband arrives late, slides
into the space beside me on the cold wooden bench.
Like it's Christmas Eve, like it's
a bar mitzvah we're waiting for,
he reads his book, and I search faces
for stories. Two rows up, a man
lays his hand gently
on his wife's back, stares
at her baby-weight-swollen feet.
We are all here for the same reason.
My husband chuckles into his book,
points at the sentence I should read.
I whisper in his ear the name of the town
where I'm moving. I double-check
his paperwork. I drop one
of my own white pills into his open hand.
The heavy door closes. With brittle knees
and thin breath we all rise. The judge
calls our names first.
photograph by E.L. Malvaney
You run and run, your mouth so dry.
You grope for a home base,
crying Who, and How, and Why,
and When will it be safe--
And then some unknown
tackles you, with arms measured to fit.
Why not somebody else, you say,
and the Answer says, "You're it."
photograph by Genevieve Goffman
Labels: rhyming verse
in memory of Deborah Digges
Read the editor's note.
Reflect that this manuscript
has been respected. Wonder,
when you read that they tried
to preserve her intentions,
how much of her handwriting spattered
Read the epigraph--something
obscure--well, that's how
she would have wanted it.
Read the apologetic jacket,
the back cover with its
flat, detached praises.
On the back flap, her photograph.
Look hard at the headshot
as though her eyes, warm even
in a black and white rectangle,
have some explanation.
Close the book.
Try again tomorrow.
Painting: Cloud #16 by Ambera Wellmann