Us/Our Apartment, #142

When was the last argument
we vacuumed up
rather than leave
the loopy berber of our words drowned
in a knee deep clutter of vowels
spilt into the weave of the carpet?

Our love is a juice
we gladly drink from,
the sweet nectar
of words we speak slowly
when they come to us
in bunches, knotted up
like bananas
and thick with a skin
we peal back to eat from,
sounds we utter
while we sip
the lips of each other,
while we kiss the cheeks
that frown and smile,
that sit there
succulent in their expressions
begging to be tasted.
On days
when there is no time,
when we do not see each other
but in our sleeping forms,
in our passing fancies,
she awake in the morning
and leaving,
me, asleep at night on her returning,
or in winter,
in our thick sweatshirts
and pajamas.
On those days our love
is a dried up fruit,
a raisin or a prune.
Too often, we are forced
in those moments
into argument,
as if the only brief meal
one could eat
would be bitter and spicy,
tied up in knots
and served hot,
fried with a splatter
that burns and scars the skin.
In the days that follow
we must heal
alone in the corner
of a bed that offers no cuddling,
but time and distance,
a mattress and dirty sheet
big enough for each
to have their own half.
So not the day nor the filth,
no force binding us together,
but ones forcing us apart,
the bills, the car loans,
the rent payment,
the friends and co-workers
who see us more often
than each other,
the ones who flirt to see
if maybe
we are something to be cooked,
consumed,
and spit out onto the floor.

Do we simply strew ourselves about
the carpet, a litter
of furniture,
work schedules, play dates,
cover up the important stains
of our meetings?

Our loved ones
are the ones we see daily,
those coworkers
we imagine running into
at the bar afterwards,
who, after a few drinks
are more suggestive
and hint at what could,
would, might happen
were it not for our
working relationship, were it not
for our age difference,
were it not for the marriage.
Who, the next day
offer to go out to dinner
sometime or come over
to play a bit, a run in the park
or time shopping.
Notes are taken, immediately
laid out on tables
to suggest opportunities
that might come up
if the neglect, the lack of bleach
and non-bleach alternatives
are not used,
if the vacuum and the broom
remain tucked away
in the back closet.
These bodies and laughters,
these strangers, these
keepers of at least
conversation
are dust bunnies,
if nothing else, attractive,
and if nothing else, available.
Ours is a love of commitment,
the steadfast promise to sleep
and to wake with only
one another,
but a life of inconvenience,
the near proximity
of two corpses
like leftover fish sticks
in the freezer. What offers heat
offers to thaw us.
But the ice box is caked
with rounded handles of fat
that leaves
no space, that precludes
any momentary love,
any passing attraction,
even an unhealthy obsession.
So we remain this way,
lie abouts
like clear cellophane
from cheese slices or empty tea bags
at the bottom
of promotional mugs. Our love
is a messy kitchen
that may never come clean
unless we invite over
friends and loved ones.

What frozen anger waits,
the freezer huffing
and puffing,
a dessert of belligerent
hunger hiding out
from rising temperatures.

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Author:

A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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