Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Resolution: Quit Smoking!

Change is always possible.
She says that to her husband one night
At dinner.
He looks up from a puddle of
thick yellow polenta on his plate.
He blinks.
Sure it is, he mumbles.

She brings her goblet of wine
to her lips
in her two hands.
Steadying her eyes on his,
She sips.
The air around them turns warmer.
Almost like the table is burning.
Almost like the sun has gotten closer.
Or more focused.

You don’t say.
She nods a little as if to make her words
Stand out.  Sharp.  Like the sauce that covers the polenta.
A red splash.  Spicy.
The sauce he doesn’t eat
because it gives him such heartburn.
He scoops the corn mush up onto his spoon,
And for a while he busies himself
bringing the spoon back and forth to his mouth.

I wonder sometimes, he says,
mashing the polenta over his tongue,
enjoying the warm comfort of it.
What does it all add up to?
He swallows.  And why we are here. 
Sometimes I just wanna know.

She shrugs.  Her lids go slightly lower.
I might wonder that too, she says in a hush.
But then I just know.
In meditation
I go
To the place I know

She stares into
the polenta he fixed
the polenta that
sits there now
as round as yellow
as a noon day sun

a hard fact:
life isn’t easy.
It’s a study in unhappiness
where change is always possible
but as unlikely as it is

She inhales now.  She gets up and
crosses the room
her bare feet slapping the wood floor.
She searches a kitchen drawer for her cigarettes.
She comes back to the table.
Bends one knee.  Sits on her foot.

She lights one of the cigarettes
She has promised she wasn’t
going to smoke anymore.

On her plate
sits the polenta
she hates
with that splash of sauce
he ladled out of a jar,
he thought she might enjoy.

You might try meditation

she says, the cigarette dangling
from her lip.
He looks up smiles. Shrugs.
She waits for him to say
Something he doesn’t say.
She stands and
carries her plate
to the sink where she forks
the yellow mess on the plate right into the garbage.
She runs the cold water in the sink.  A fleck of bright ash
Falls into the water, goes out.

I’ll do those up, he calls out to her.
No matter, she says. I have time. 
She reaches for the apron.
Ties it behind her waist.
And sets the cigarette in the charred seashell
she uses as an ashtray.
She sets her hands into the sink.
And he carries his plate to her.
And he burps.
And she thinks,
Change is always possible.
I think.

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