Remember when the house was new to us still?
When we returned our final offer on our first home, I had wanted the thrill of a deal.
To ask for something more exciting,
more mogul than a 12-month home warranty.
So I asked that the garden ornaments convey.
All of them.
Never mind I liked none of them.
Remember when the yard was unfamiliar to us still?
You stood tall and young, looking out the window filled with night
Your hands in the kitchen sink.
I saw you look twice.
Eyes big, you waved your hand and called me over.
(How I loved it when you said my name.)
Pointing, ‘Do you see it? That glowing, do you see it?’
I did. I saw it. But had no idea what it was.
A small spaceship? The eyes of an animal? A piece of the moon?
I didn’t venture out alone to investigate
Or send you into the dark by yourself
Nor mumble, ‘It’s probably nothing.’
We went outside together,
Tip-toeing around the catawpa tree, its limbs so low you had to duck.
Closer now, giggling.
‘No, you go.’
‘I’m not going. You go.’
We approached the glow together, an army of two.
You nudged it with the tip of your shoe.
Nothing, no movement.
I bent down and poked the mystery on the ground.
‘Oh my god,’ I said, no more whispering.
The glow was from an extension cord set outside to power the small lily pond,
it’s illuminated end, once hidden under the mulch, now exposed.
The glow was nothing we expected it to be. Like so many things that would come to the surface.
I want to write all the things for you
Search for all the songs
Carefully mine all the lyrics
All the verses
All the passages.
Package them, deliver them all at once
Trot them out once a day
For all the days.
I want to stop stealing what is not mine
Accumulating you piece by piece
Adding to a stockpile that doesn’t grow.
Each day at the baldest hour of want o’clock, the grains slip.
A sieve, the finest holes through the ventricles all the way to China.
A carpenter ant through my belly
Around the stalactites that intersect my breastplate
Around the bunion on my right foot out the tips of my toes.
I want to bury all the hatchets
Mend all the holes
Remove all the blinds
Dust all the shelves with only my bare hands.
Finish off the cornichons and toss all the olives
Stacked, treading oil in the jar
Trapped in an underwater chicken fight.
I want to add not subtract
Yet I most definitely do not want to divide.
Canned beef stew an actor’s fake vomit sprayed over the walls
A dog’s breakfast that you can’t eat but are served for years
seated in a folding chair at a folding table, the surface covered in spots of paint
Splatters of pink white blue yellow
Memories so pure and true and good
You’d eat the folding table you really would –
Screw by screw nut by nut
Each plastic-coated aluminum leg including the hinges –
If each swallow would erase every lapse.
That’s not how it works.
At least not from where I sit
In a wooden chair at the laminate-topped table that I got to keep.
It’s not possible to nibble around the good times
and gobble swill smoke and chew the rest.
Something’s got to give and it’s me
I’ve got to go.