Monthly Archives: October 2014

Phantoms II

She feels them.
The man who exists, but not yet for her.
She can hear him
breathing in the scent of dinner
while he reclines in his favorite chair,
engrossed in fiction,
the index finger of his right hand
poised just under the page,
ready to turn it in a moment.
The children who will be.
She swears that,
while she stirs the contents of the pot
and rests her left hand on her hip,
the fantasy has come to life.
From somewhere in the house,
childish laughter floats into the kitchen
and hits her eardrums,
thumps her heart.
But each time she leaves the stove to look —
wishing, dreaming, hoping
to catch the elusive apparitions —
she can’t seem to steal a glimpse.
Yet she knows them, aches for them.
She knows in the deepest parts of her
that they’re just a blink away.
She can almost feel their hands in hers.
They’re the only ghosts worth holding.

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Phantoms

He feels them.
The woman who exists, but not yet for him.
He can hear her gently humming,
swaying lightly through the kitchen,
the room he chose on her behalf,
knowing it’s the one she’ll use
more than he ever will,
so he wanted it to be perfect.
The children who will be.
He swears that,
while he reclines in his favorite chair
engrossed in fiction,
the fantasy has come to life downstairs
where childish laughter
floats up the basement steps
and hits his eardums,
thumps his heart.
But each time he goes to look —
hoping, willing, grasping
at the elusive apparitions —
he can’t seem to catch a glimpse.
Yet he hears them, aches for them.
He knows in the deepest parts of him
that they’re just a room away.
He can almost feel their hands in his.
They’re the only ghosts worth holding.

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Northern Gridlock

If I’d hustled this morning
instead of dilly-dallying
with grocery lists
and coffee
and primping,
I might have been in the accident
instead of just delayed by it.
This is the thought that made me
relaxed, calm, grateful
for having to crawl
at a snail’s pace.

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Green

I like to think that it’s coincidence —
that my eyes were conceived as
what turned out to be
my favorite color.

The color of my keurig
and my bamboo
and my bedspread
and my shirt.

The one that makes me think of money,
and then immediately the deadly sins:
greed (for more green)
and envy (she’s green with it).

The hue that signals “go”
and “luck.”

The color of newness.
The color of growth.

The additive primary from which
other colors spring forth.

(The line between coincidence
and narcissism
might be a thin, green one.)

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Mrs. Dunne

She claims there’s no such thing
as a “cool girl.”
That no woman really fits that mold.
That any female who likes
sports and heels,
burgers and filets,
base and high-minded humor,
and truly enjoys both giving and receiving
in the bedroom —
she’s kidding herself.
She’s only pretending to like these things
until she lands a man,
and then she can stop this business
of being the “cool girl”
and be the thing she said she wasn’t.
She’s just giving him what he wants
until he gives her what she wants.
She’s only doing it so she can win
(and he, necessarily, can lose).

But oh, Mrs. Dunne!
Allow me introduce myself
and much of my inner circle!
We don’t call ourselves that,
but we do what you can’t —
we act exactly as ourselves.
We’re not pretending.
And in the end, we probably win —
but he’s not the one who loses.

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Adrift

A piece of her is adrift somewhere in cyberspace.
Some kind of portal where she’s broken down
and reassembled and analyzed for each 0 and 1.
She doesn’t fully understand the process,
but she understands it’s out of her control now.
That eventually, someone will convert her
from electronic to physical, or will simply push her
along that digital pathway until she lands
somewhere in his field of vision, and then he’ll do it, too:
break her down, reassemble her, analyze her.
Those 0s and 1s will end up in some point system
that makes sense on paper but that involves a lot more
than what’s written in black and white.

And once the points are tallied, one of three outcomes:
Perhaps that piece will stay adrift somewhere beyond her touch,
neither reaching nor failing to reach her destination;
Perhaps it will expectedly fail; the decision made for her —
blissfully out of her control — disappointing, but not surprising;
Perhaps (perhaps!) she’ll be surprised
to feel her stomach drop with anticipation, excitement, fear
at seeing land; at having to choose.

And if she must choose, then what?
She’ll break herself down into her component parts,
reassemble herself, analyze herself.
She’ll put herself in some point system
that makes sense on paper but that involves a lot more
than what’s written in black and white —
that beautiful and terrible choice
between knowns.

A choice of hers is adrift somewhere in cyberspace.

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