“Hello?” I answer.
“Hello?” I say again.
I hang up.
Every few afternoons,
during the trysting hour,
the same call.
Ring, ring, but only silence.
My wife and I joke
that it’s a ghost,
but I know better.
It’s someone who wants
to hear our voices.
A past indiscretion,
Mine, maybe hers,
don’t know and don’t want to.
I’m worried that instead of silence,
and my wife and I
will never look at each other
Our breath lingers
in front of our faces
as we exhale
the mountain air
and look down
at the powder dusted valley.
Floating in the moment
between dangers passed
and the descent to come,
we laugh at our fear
of slipping and falling,
of being left alone
without the other.
Tin mailboxes line the gravel path,
their wood posts aged a silver gray.
The stones tickle my bare soles
as I look through my box
for the letter you’d said you sent,
but it’s not there, and it’s as if
I’m no longer there either.
Just a shell standing in front
of an empty metal box.
Any exit will do,
even the shoulder.
Abandon the car
and be the eight
year old inside me.
Not 41, stuck
looking at the world
through tinted safety glass.
I met a guy once
who claimed he never said,
That there were no endings,
He would say,
only once, when he met you,
And after that it was,
His banter was a running toilet.
Jiggle the handle
and more came out.
Soon after meeting him,
I taught him about,
The rusted cyclone fence
surrounds the boarded up house,
yellow, underneath the willow tree.
Fresh smoke rises from the black chimney.
The new owners have arrived.
Young, in love, anticipating
the future in their dream home.
It’s good they don’t know
the memories their house holds
for another couple, now old,
but once young, in love
A salesman for God
Blames the tidal wave
On Muslim sinners.
He says, “8 out of 10 tidal waves
Crash on Muslim shores.”
I change the station.
Chipped teeth litter his face,
bruised lips smear his complexion,
salty blood trickles from his nostrils,
but he still stands, hands clenched
as fists at his sides, knuckles cut,
as he looks down at his opponent
stretched out moaning in the sluice
running in the alley’s gutter.
His boss, his wife, his father, his life.
Standing in my underwear in front of my closet,
Should I wear this or should I wear that?
Who do I need to be today?
But what if no one needs me to be anyone?
I’m lost in a sea of indecision,
Barely able to choose which pants to wear.
Without a goal I drift,
Using inquiry to cut loose false meaning in my life
Like ballast in a listing ship.
Trouble with asking questions
Of what everyone takes for granted
Is that the answers aren’t nearly as forthcoming
As I would expect from what is so accepted.
Likes and dislikes seem irrelevant
When I don’t know who
Is doing the liking and disliking
Though I know it’s me.
Do I like green pants? Someone in my past didn’t, so I don’t.
Just who am I today? Green or blue or beige?
Sometimes I give up and take a break
Because really, what is the point of pants?
Am I not more comfortable in my underwear?
Maybe I’d be more so without even that?
That’ll make me happy,
Or, they’ll make me complete.
I think I want something
Or I want to be with someone,
But when I get it I want something else
And it ends up going to Goodwill
Or we split up and go our separate ways.
The repetition has revealed the pattern.
Now I don’t know what I want
And don’t trust my desires
To be anything more than distractions
Until the next shiny bobble shimmers by.