Popcorn Day

Silent in this coffeeshop
mocha-infused nostrils
smoothing hands on the wooden table
waiting for life to unfold

waiting
for life to make sense again.

Here
the buildings slouch together like siblings on a couch
watching the same television show

Here
the locals shiver in flip-flops and overcoats
smoking their cloves
blowing their words into the air

Here
the children march in school uniforms,
teachers and parents bobbing beside them
brown bags of popcorn bunched in their hands

the children toss their laughter in the air
one kernel at a time
their handfuls of chatter
thrown fast at each other

the adults munch solemnly
some staring ahead
some staring down to observe
to envelop
the chatter decorating their faces
like strings of lights on an evergreen

and I remember what it was like to feel
home
in my hometown.

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Unspoken Altar

I’ve pulled from your memory before.

The underside of age weeping into a word pile,
and your image coined in repetition of a phrase I cannot remove
from my psyche.

Today is not a day for the belly of death,

I recall instead your birthday. One unfamiliar
to my word paintings, as this month is wont to do.

The overshadow of Christmas creating more obligation in these days
than it ever would in any other month.

I want to apologize to you for that.

The fault of family often lending itself to louder
the lack of “look at me” in your demeanor
has gone unnoticed by me too long.

The rustling of the plastic sack
where you often held the bounty of your trips
where my greedy child fingers grasped

and a singsong thank you volleyed half at your face

before I ran off, your smile reaching the small of my back
instead of my eyes.

I want to apologize to you for that.

Tomorrow will be the day before another obligatory holiday
but I am now smiling in secret with you
at the younger me we both knew.

I Never Knew That Man

I never asked you
what kind of man he was.
I saw him every morning, eating bananas, silent.
I walked beside him at the store, skipping sometimes to the spaghettios
and he’d count the cans with me as we put them in the cart.

I spent a lifetime loving you both, never knowing much
about the reality of two.
What kind of husband?
What kind of wife were you?

I never knew that man.

He was always reminding me to tie my shoes,
reminding you to take your pills,
or stir the pot so it wouldn’t burn
He bickered with you, about the zinnias
or the stew, the people you and he both knew
And he would call you “Lee” and I knew that married couples argued

But I never knew that man. Continue reading