Monday, January 12, 2009
Of a Pretty Age
My friend Barbara,
with the long blond hair,
would come over
and we would surf
standing on the broad arm rest
of the old grey swing
to gain speed and create
while singing Beach Boy songs,
Because even in panhandle Florida, we were
Our hands, our arms, our bodies would grasp
the chains, rust chains,
that I dared Barbara to lick--once.
We would be stained a bloody orange
like the dirt road
we rode our bikes on
especially when the sun was setting
and we’d to race it home.
Then I would sit on the swing,
scooting to the edge of the seat
to touch the ground
with a foot to keep
the glide going.
Sometimes a splinter would catch
on the legs or hands
and with careful pointed tweezers,
the one my mother and sister used
to make their eyebrows almost disappear,
they would remove the sliver of wood.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
You reach over to grab the thermometer, careful with each budgeted movement as the alarm clock wakes you up just before dawn. When you think that the tiny round button has been pressed and the thermometer has been turned on, you slip into your sour morning breath and fall, almost fall, asleep waiting for that final beep. Moving, you, manipulating murky morning light that fights its way in through the slits and edges between cheap apartment blinds while also shifting the alarm clock’s green lit face. Squinting and going through face contortions to make out the differences between a 6 and a 7, they never looked so similar before. Low light and a full bladder make your blurry buggered eyes blend sixes and sevens together. You should be a pro by now. When finally deciding on a 7, you work your way down to the other numbers. It’s a 3 or is it an 8. Damn.
You have had enough of this and get out of bed. Do it slow.
and stop and
slide and scoot and
Breathe, glance, husband and dog not even changing their breathing.
You place one hand on the dresser—slow foot dropping pointed toe the ground, stop. Not a breath out of place from the sleeping two, as you finally glide the other leg in place to meet the floor and sit on the bed after a breath and a stare at the unmoved man and dog.
In the bathroom light, it was not a 3 or an 8 but a 4, 97.14. The screen clears. 97.14 Stay up? 97.14 You are cold, no longer carrying around the bed’s warmth, and you know that you can not go back to sleep. 97.14 It is quiet, and you can stay up and watch the early murky light become yellow and strong. You can record the temperature and get it out of you head 97.14. You plot it and look at the graph of jagged temperatures, highs and lows. You know its going to be a bad cycle. If this were a chart of a heart beat it would be good and strong, but it is not.
Dawn and the dog are up. The dog does its yoga pose. Paws stretched out towards you, its butt and tail high in the air, mouth opened and tongue curled. All is finished with its awakening yawn, and it heads to the door telling you that it is time for the morning walk. Bending the blind slats, you place a hand on the window, clear sunlight, greening grass, and the skinny twigs of a bush of buds peek through. It is not cold, a sweatshirt will do. You make a mental note to move the coats from the hooks and into the closet. Accessible but not visible.
When you come back from the walk the house no longer feels cold, your husband is up. He is singing “Yellow Submarine.” while the shower spitters and sprays. You start the coffee, and give the dog a treat. Your husband comes out of the bathroom putting on a shirt.
Grabbing the coffee he asks, “What’s the temp?”
He nods then sips looking over the rim. You give him the clue with a sigh, almost whispered, and glance dawn to the beige carpet. He says “Oh,” and turns the television on to the BBC World News.
Gathering the same response from you over the next few weeks, he will stop asking for the temperature. You will still make the coffee and he will still take it from you, no sugar just milk. He will take his coffee to the sofa and turn to the television on to the news. And you will stand there repeating numbers.