OR NOT

He screwed up his face into the scowl
that fairly shouted to all, “Don’t Ask!”.

She knew better but knew also that she
had no choice, “What’s the matter now?”

“It’s just,” he said, softening a bit, “that
I so seldom get the weather I need,
much less the weather I want, it’s never
the sort I ask, no matter how nicely I put it.”

She threw caution to the wind, smiled
and said, “It isn’t, of course, that the weather
isn’t what you ask, it most certainly
almost always is. It is simply that the weather
is perfect and you always show up
in precisely the wrong place to enjoy it.”

AT THE EDGE

He says we are getting to the point
where we can see almost to the edge
of the universe, see the moment
when all that we know was created,
see gravitational waves cast off
by the collision of neutron stars.
She says that is all well and good,
but why can’t he see that he was
supposed to pick up milk and bread
on the way home, and that they
have to be at the school this night
at seven to meet the teachers.
And, she adds, you do realize
that you neutron stars collided
when the first flowering plants
were appearing on Earth, so
in all likelihood, you can’t
even blame the snake for it all.

MOTHER

 

I called my mother the other day
and she did not answer, which
she would always do when I called.
The dead, I concluded, no longer
play by the rules they did
when they were still alive.
Of course she will call me soon,
disrupting my sleep, and chastise
me for not trying again.
But she will quickly slip into
reading the list of what
she expects from me, for
either living or dead,
mother’s expectations must
always be met, no matter what.

LISTEN UP, ABRAHAM

A commentary on a holy book
suggested snakes
cannot hear one another.
Perhaps their deafness goes
beyond family and species.
It would do much
to explain God’s rejection
of Eve’s proffered excuse
that despite her protestations
and those of Adam
the snake would not
take no for an answer –
a deaf snake, after all
having spoken, has little
to do but move along
to the next monologue.

REMEMBERED

She said she
recalled the spilled
glass of wine that stained
her white linen blouse.
She said
the city swallows people
like a hungry beast
that will never be sated.
I taste the summer sun
and the sweetness
of an early rain
in the Shiraz
that foretells
approaching winter.
The city is a cat
that curls by the lake
and purrs to
the gently rising moon.
She, who was once
very real, is now
little more than
a fading dream,
and I, the dreamer,
willingly cede that dream
to the wonder
of this moment,
and this.

TAPESTRY

 

It is like emotions are something
you wear on your sleeve, he said,
picking at threads of sadness, trying
to pry them from the fabric
of the moment, never understanding
they were the warp of his existence,
joy and laughter, compassion
and empathy the weft.
She said, that is only
an illusion, and you know
that illusions are not real.
She held his hand, smoothed
the fabric, tucking away
the odd thread, hoping that he
wouldn’t pull at the selvage
and be forced to watch the
happiness of their relationship
unravel before her eyes.