Tag Archives: human condition

Frayed

 

After all this time
you thought that love
might be floating
in the air between you—
might be settling
onto your skin
like a favorite
flannel shirt with
frayed edges so soft
you don’t want
to remove it for anything—
but maybe you don’t feel
the same to him
because he doesn’t seem
to want you
wrapped around him
in those photographs
he offers to the public eye
wearing that smile
you were certain
was meant only for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-7-17

“The Gleaner” by Jules Adolphe Breton, 1900

Out Loud

Now that it’s over
and I begin to speak of us
out loud in past tense
I am able to listen
to myself
explain to others
how a perfectly
complacent marriage
became a severing
of the cleanest kind
without war or bitterness
or even regret
because neither of us
will take responsibility
for our contribution—
which is that detail
each of us will leave out
when we hear ourselves
tell our side of the story.

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-13-17

 

After I Leave

After I leave you
I don’t adjust right away
to the familiar things
I return home to
and I don’t stop thinking
about the reasons
we work
and the reasons we don’t—
and the reasons we don’t
have nothing to do
with a deficiency of love
or lack of joy
or misplaced hope,
but the measurement
of life invested elsewhere—
in those familiar things
that breathe and need
and trust
that I’ll come home
after I’ve had time alone,
which is the lie I tell
when I walk in the door
with stories of
how rejuvenating it was
to spend time in nature—
solo—
and I feel guilty
for not wanting
a welcome home kiss
because I want yours
to be the last one on my lips.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-3-17

“The Brook” by John Singer Sargent, 1907

 

Exit Strategy

You need one
even if you think
you’ll never use it —
go ahead and plan your escape
while you’re still in love
and still think
maybe it will all work out okay—
that he’ll begin to see you
the way you see him—
with a power to illuminate
everything
like a candle in the middle
of a midnight room,
making even the darkest spaces
glow
with the soft light of hope—
but you know how quickly
a fire can start
and get out of control
if even the gentlest wind
blows a corner of the curtain
into the hot yellow wick—
so you need to listen
for that intuitive alarm
inside your smoldering heart
which will go off
when you’re close
to getting burned—
and it will sound like the wail
of a fire truck off in the distance
except it will be you, crying,
as you make your way
to one of your
designated exits
which might be the bathroom
or the basement—
but don’t expect a rescue.
You’ll need to save yourself
this time
or your whole heart
will go up in flames.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-2-17

Lost Love Almanac, Entry #1

I don’t have a photograph
of my favorite memory with you—
you sitting at the kitchen table
with your reading glasses on
after you’d just read to me
a passage from your favorite book.
You look so content
with your eyes settled on the page—
and this snapshot is clearer to me
than any photograph of you
looking happy or silly or serious—
and I pretend in that moment
we both forgot that there was
a clock on the wall pointing out
it was time for me to get home.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris-
4-2-17

Another Sunday Afternoon

You were already hanging on
by a thread today
when you answered the phone
with as much normal in your voice
as you could muster
and you listened to your spouse
explain the need for something
unneeded
and you don’t have the patience
or the desire
to pay attention anymore
to what amounts to gibberish
after the mad money
goes up in smoke every afternoon
so you hung up the phone
and packed your bag
and wished upon a star
you could be gone when he gets home
but you just sit on the bed
with the keys in your shaking hands
because you know
you have nowhere else to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-26-17

“Repose” by John Singer Sargent, 1911

 

 

Just Below the Surface

In a parallel universe
or on a future day, perhaps,
I’d like to tell you how much
I’ve loved the ones
who came before you—
maybe sit down at the table
with the shoebox
full of love letters
you know nothing about
and rifle through my history
of loss that made our love
possible—
and I think it would be
kind of liberating
to hear your stories too
and invite our hearts
to be broken one more time
while I talk about Walter
and that wonderful winter
we spent in Duluth
and you could talk about Rose
and how you still
worry about her even though
she canceled the wedding
and moved back home to Israel—
and for just one afternoon
we wouldn’t have to pretend
that certain names never
float to the surface
of our memory
or that we wouldn’t love
to run into them again
while we were alone
in some cozy café
with nothing more urgent
than our wish
to hear where their life has gone
since that day we were
no longer part of it.

 

 

 

DeMaris Gaunt
11-27-15