Table of |
and the sun becomes nothing.
Air hissing out like a beachball,
collapsing at the horizon. I remember
my mother telling me it was illusion,
that the sun stayed still, and it was
the earth turning away. I didn’t
believe her. If the earth was spinning,
I said, I would have been knocked down
flat. She didn’t answer, but disappeared
into the next room. Now, it is years later,
afternoon nursing home, and I still don’t
trust my mother. I don’t believe her empty
eyes, her flaccid mouth that can’t even say
my name. I am watching her sink into
the horizon, her life flattened, her death
waiting to blow up like a beach ball
and send her hissing out of my sight
while I remain left behind, unmothered
now, and spinning in place.
Another day of staring out
the window. Maybe she’s thinking
what to make for dinner or what
to do with her life. It was different
on the way here. The pre-engagement
flutters, the waiting for the ring.
Life was one big carnival then,
ferris wheel climbing her up to
the sky, tickle of birdfeather
rushing past her ear. List
of important things: what to wear
to look sexy, ten ways to turn on
a man. Sex, too, was magical,
the moves they discovered together,
replaying them after he left. But
love, like any bird, gets tired of
flying and looks for a place to next.
So one day, he pulls out a ring and
they soar for awhile with wedding plans
and guest lists, maybe even talk of a child.
It’s all enough until one day, she starts
replaying it after he leaves for work.
List of important things: shopping, laundry,
letting someone know you’re alive. Her
life itself, small as the space inside a wedding
ring, or the width of a tired eye looking
out the window and up at the sky.
When it’s winter and she leaves
him in the iced-over dirt,
she knows it will be some
distance before she can speak
again. She takes a last look
back at the frozen landscape.
This was where the love took place,
the kisses, the late-night talks
that stretched out and doubled
back until they turned into arguments
about soap and remotes and everything
else that wasn’t about how they just
didn’t love anymore. But it’s hard
to drop a thing when it’s all that is filling
your hand, and you can stand your life
having corners and walls, and even
an electric fence can seem normal
if you teach your fingers
where they shouldn’t touch.