Glitches in the slipstream

The sun held sway at lunch.
A cool breeze pushed aside warm air.
It was almost perfect.
There was a deep rumbling hum.
I thought maybe there was roadwork nearby
but it seems after searching
for the disturbance, it was coming from
inside, where I had a lingering pang,
a weird dark space where sounds of the day
were lost to echoes of imagined promise.
I ignored the passing flutter of birdsong
for the voice I hear in my dreams,
the one that shamelessly declares
things most people scoff at:
love and passion and ardent assertions
that all will be well.

What does Wednesday sound like?

Today’s soundtrack was
a rhythmless bout of noisy birds,
the same three notes on a piano on repeat,
lots of big breaths before little epiphanies,
Chaka Khan, onions sizzling frying in oil,
maybe four full laughs, and an odd twang.

Sometimes the orchestra is made of
frogs, sometimes flutes.
Wednesday is a roiling boiling zydeco.

Near the Passaic River

I think about that kitchen a lot,
tiny and warm and the source of magical
breads and sustenance for half a dozen
people over 40 years.
I can see the old white enamel appliances.
Hear the crackle of the gas stove.
Smell the ever-present coffee brewing.
A floor slightly tacky with years of mopping,
road salt at winter, and flour and oil spills.
A formica table with mismatched chairs
and somehow, elbow to elbow was cozy.
The fridge had covered glass dishes
and meat wrapped in butcher paper.
I can see the narrow, stuffed pantry shelves
and feel how the cellar store sticks
as you grab potatoes from the landing.
The darkness below was thick
and there was a smell of pets, shoe shine,
must, and earthen floors.
There’s light from a small window
overlooking a sliver of yard filled with
a creeping garden and a few lawn chairs.
You can hear the clock chiming from the hall
and see part of the sofa and paintings
of the living room through the doorway.
It’s a supremely welcoming place,
this kitchen. It felt like another country
when I was a little girl. It was the time before
such rooms became instant and sterile,
a time of newspapers and aprons.

Rough and Tumble

I’ve traveled
the loneliest stretch of road
without leaving the sofa

It’s a place I know well,
one of division
and a gap where hope should be

People leave and don’t come back
the same, sometimes plastic,
sometimes with pieces missing

I’m stuck in place,
pleading through a Sunday afternoon
to a God whose plans seem muted

A church lady recently told me
times of struggle happen
right before good things unfold;
I must be careening toward a masterpiece.

Betwixt and Between

There’s nothing pretty
about those times when you’re waiting,
the times between the things
you have to do and want to do,
the times you know and you don’t know.
Waiting is agony when you’re not sure
if it’ll be fresh flowers or a stab to the heart.
Waiting gives you time to create
elaborate scenarios that’ll never happen.
You don’t notice the breaths you take
under the great weight of waiting
are shallow until you’re dizzy.
The air between moments feels heavy,
like the pressure can be measured
best in underwater terms, and what’s odd
is that the sinking or swimming
is surely a disaster and a relief.

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