Sunday, June 21, 2009

You know this

The bus jerks across every pothole. Next to you sits
a young mother, acrylic nails
tipped in daisies and golden café
eyes. Her baby jostles on her lap
while she scolds into the cell phone:
“No, I didn’t…
You got no business…
It none of your business….”

and across the aisle, down the length of the bus,
ears are glued to a whispering beat,
enclosed in iPod rhythm, children with
hands over their eyes thinking they are

You know your heart is breaking
crack by crack along the fault line,
aching fiery explosion beneath the surface,
the delicate film you wrapped it in to keep
away the fingers of
the dirty wicked world

and you wouldn’t be on the bus,
eyes glazed with grief, shawled with
a darkness beneath which you are calm and adrift,
not yet bailing out the bottom of the boat,
not yet realizing the damn thing is sinking,
all caulking and plugging

except that you don’t drive and there are appointments
and promises. They don’t stop, not for heartbreak,
not even for wanting that shawl over
your head like a tallit, private
and sacred and a declaration of faith,
but all day, all night in your room you are
going crazy with a restless ticking of the

dead yet? still breathing? still the
virus climbing the veins, still the lungs in their
labor, their instinct without hope or purpose,
the body shrinking to bone, the muscle
slack and drooled, the lips chapped and sore?

mi amor? the name you never called

the way he held back and you walked away,
the last time you cradled him and he cried,
the kiss good-bye that made you weep
all the way to the airport.
You know this—like one could prevent it,
like there is still a way for a safe arrival

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