blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




One day you sit down to talk with the woman you love
at the table in the kitchen, the scarred one with the extra leaf

that you never need now that you live so far from friends
and family, the table you daily bang your knee on, the only

piece of furniture you own from before you met her.
It could be after dinner with a drink or better still

on one of those brilliant fall mornings over a cup of coffee,
the brass mornings that go on forever, that all alone are enough

to hold you here though they mean less than nothing to her
without the people she loves. But instead of talking you think

about the farmer at the flea market who sold you the table,
the way he stood beside his wife embarrassed, tight lipped,

imagine the thousands of mornings they rose from that table
for the morning milking and were back out after supper,

in summer suffering the heat, in winter over a frozen path,
even before and after the child's funeral, the wife's wind-burned

face still wet, the husband's stiff blue suit re-hung in the closet,
barely a word passing between them except for work.

What was once water then becomes stone that no
talk or tears or surgeon's knife can begin to reach, and you

see now there is nothing left to say, so you sip your coffee
and smoke while the moon sets and a door upstairs closes. 

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