Job Security

Never mind
the fact that you
are in a position
of privilege
and have choices
to make about
where to dine
on Saturday night
and what kind
of hardwood
to use for your cabinets
in the new kitchen
you are able
to afford
and forget about
the sultry and exotic
places you’ll travel to
in the spring
and in the winter—
you are about
to begin
the second half
of your life
bankrupt
with money to spare
but none of it
can buy back
that love you lost
while you were
too busy
accumulating
things you thought
would keep it.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-30-17

Painting by Vilhelm Hammershoi, “Interior with Easel”

Anniversary 

This is the day
you never thought
would be
a celebration
back when
you were sure
your enormous wish
was never going to fit
into the contours
of your life
so you did
what anyone in love
would do
you blew up
the boundaries
and stepped into
someone else’s world
with not a single
promise
to put everything
back how you found it
if what you’d done
turned out to be
in vain.

 

 

DeMaris
12-29-17

You Wonder

You wonder
if you’ve ever
been imagined
into someone’s day
someone’s life
someone’s fantasy—
have you ever
been wished
onto a plane
or into the woods
or into a warm bed
on a winter night
for a connection
that had nothing
to do with sex
and everything
to do with love—
and you wonder
if even once
you’ve been wanted
by the one you want—
if even once
there’s been a match
in this universe
that could have
saved your life
pulled you up
and out of despair
but both of you
believed the other
deserved a kind
of perfection
out of your price range
so both of you
ended up here
on a blank page—
one of you writing
and one of you
reading into it
whatever you can.

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-28-17

“Waiting by the Window” by Carl Holsoe, 1865

Cancer Center

The waiting room
is without warmth—
grays and blues
and faces
lined with concern
sallow with fear
some of them
seeking answers
some of them
wringing their hands
with a knowledge
they hope
to radiate away
and it’s hard to tell
the difference
between
the body language
of the sick
and those
who are writhing
uncomfortably
waiting
for their loved one
to become a ghost.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-19-17

 

Damages

Back at home
there are two
pencil drawings
precious
small
old
black and white
sketches
a gift from a friend
who means
something to me
but I can’t decide
what
kind of frame
would be best
and I’m standing
in the aisle
deciding
whether my choices
are as black and white
as these frames
so I take my time
make a decision
proceed
to the checkout
where the cashier
is careless
and scratches
one of the corners
says to me
all you need to do
is touch that up
with some black paint
and I say
you know that dent
is never
coming out

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-18-17

With the Dead

It’s a cold night
almost Christmas
and I am wishing
it would all
be over
when I find myself
stuck in traffic
driving slow
parallel
to the ancient
iron fencing
between me
and the cemetery
and I pull in
as if someone
is calling my name
from behind
the skeleton trees
and I follow
the narrowing road
to its logical
dead end
and I kill the engine
and step out
to touch the granite
stones
that are so heavy
with what it means
to be crushed
by an accumulation
of days
and I lay down
on the earth
beside a man
named Jim
who died in 1913
and then I stare
at the moon
as if it could answer
the question
of how to feel
alive.

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-16-17

How I Look

Sometimes
happy music plays
in another room
and even
if you close your door
sound waves
sneak in
and all you want
is silence
or dark music
that is so full
of melancholy
it makes you feel
indistinguishable
from the air
that is filled
with what looks like
nothing.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-13-17

“Interior with Piano and Woman in Black” by Vilhelm Hammershoi, 1901