Friday, September 16, 2011

What the Living Do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably
    fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes
   have piled up.

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called.  This is the everyday we
   spoke of.
It's winter again:  the sky's a deep headstrong blue, and the sunlight
   pours through.

the open living room windows because the heat's on too high in here, and
   I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street,
   the bag breaking,

I've been thinking:  This is what the living do.  And yesterday, hurrying
   along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my
   wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush:  This is it.
Parking.  Slamming the car door shut in the cold.  What you called
   that yearning.

What you finally gave up.  We want the spring to come and the winter to
   pass.  We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss - we want more and more and
   then more of it. 

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the
   window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing
   so deep.

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm
I am living, I remember you. 

Marie Howe