i told my son you can reach me i am not the weather the same way my father was the weather i am not mystery or storm or the perfect day apology for the storm you can reach me i am willing to be shaken i used to be shaken all of the time you you you son you can reach me i have built a table too small to eat at so that we can sit there and hold no pursuit other than me what do you need
And like a sailor, he lifts the blinds. In the distance, no matter how far he is in that VA nursing home, he sees us out here somewhere as we glide. Your elderly father sees you and me, our hearts as one woven kite on the porch swing just as night seems to nudge the sun aside. He knows we are falling in love.
After all, all our footprints in sand and snow and cinder and everywhere we go, we go two by two by love but look at how the world blends so small. He knows. Widowers may have a way of seeing all the power in believing, as somewhere way out there is yet a heavenly mother near her child.
He may remember his younger sky, and her beautiful eyes, and likely can see them still when you laugh and when you cry. And for this, you should drop a line, for not too long ago he lifted you as that child, and you reached upward.
Names. You’ve got this thing with them. The names of plants, rocks, native species. Concrete details have become a favorite pastime.
Vehicles, clouds, chemical compounds.
You file names away in no particular order but know right where they are when you need them. And you will. Need them.
Architecture, muscles, functions.…
. . . you burnt your lip on the coffee mug, distracted by the pretty crow eating french-fries in the parking lot, thrown out by a litterer during a conversation with a potential lover who wanted to impress with callousness, the girl who was only in the car by virtue of a blind date agreement, trusting another’s word, who hadn’t noticed the bird or the fries, her window rolled up since she was chilly, her mother’s advice unheeded as to the need for a sweater for the evening, the lights still on at home, that mother sitting, not really watching the television, wondering if the daughter will do what she did on blind dates, the worry turning to fantasizing about lost years and chances, the husband, separated from the worried wife, prone in a downtown apartment – cars passing loudly along the avenue – intently watching a rented DVD, absently murmuring on the phone with an old girlfriend, that woman, at work in the restaurant on a break where the fries originated, having just dropped some more for the giddy teenagers idling in line at the drive-thru, which is visible from the table where you sat when, instead of being in the moment of coffee and conversational enjoyment, you were entertained by a frolicking bird in the innocent evening sun in a littered parking lot – of which you blamed – mentally – for causing you to burn your lips, which would later tempt me but were ultimately kept at bay due to the pain.…
Thirty-four minutes late & what I want this to be is another breakdown & my imagination burying you while you are singing & gentle to my shoulders. I want to be crazy & for you to be alive forever & if I can manage to change my beliefs before you come home that might just happen.
Thirty-five minutes late & I have confirmed the existence of fire & I have taken small, heroic bites of my own flaming flesh. If I can be wolf enough to remove a limb without removing a limb, then I can sell you on the idea that you being late doesn’t ruin the whole pack of my mind. If I can sit here until the blue car enters the driveway, then nothing overly-human will happen.
Thirty-six minutes late & I have finished cooking dinner twice already. I am lapping the kitchen. I have started oatmeal for your breakfast tomorrow & thrown out that oatmeal, because if you’re already dead, then I don’t want to explain to the children why there is a bowl of oatmeal waiting for you at the table. I want to transition you to their version of Heaven as quickly as possible & mothers in heaven don’t have oatmeal slowly cooling for them in Columbus, Ohio.…