Patience, n. a minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
By the water, a bird is caught.
Sharpened claws are cloaked with thick woolen
The owner resists the urge to scratch off
The artificial warmers, since hunger,
Suppressed, provides heat enough.
Rough knots in the lower stomach betray
And reveal the pouncing need to devour.
Hours pass. The claws start to retract.
Lips start to purse. The wrists are relaxed
And the gaze? Heavy at the lids.
The prey. The bird. The meal
Is set free at the price of the bigger creature's will
of won't kill.
Big fish come closer to the surface.
Only then is resistance released.
The feed provides heat enough.
The need to devour is at once realized.
Minutes pass. The claws are full of meat.
The mouth makes chomping motions.
Wrists are intent to dine.
And the gaze?
Heavy at the lids–
I see him packing up without me,
Getting ready to slip out the house while I sleep.
He’ll be careful so the locks won’t click too loud
Or the floors creak too much.
He is worried that the car should
Surreptitiously tell me of his departure,
Which would rupture the bubble he’s blowing,
The one he’ll ride like the Good Witch of the North.
Like the one in Wizard of Oz.
So I fold
And crisscross my arms over my chest
And act according to plan.
Awake, I sleep.
Then, click go the locks and
Creak goes the floor.
And the car? Is a narc.
I look to the gusts of wind and pray
That his bubble only bursts when he is ready
To land with hands open,
Unclenched and at peace.
Nine O'Clock on a Saturday
My piano man
With big hands
He touches my skin
The way he plays his fifty-two keys—
Gently and just right.
We make music. We crescendo.
Our pieces have codas and encores and
We make our own remixes.
Neither of us minds being benched because
We have a good view of an ivory coast.
Our fingertips tap on
With spines aligned. Anchored.
Our minds are on chords
That keep in time with a four-four count.
Our sounds are steady
And make sense,
Intense at times when we hit
Then, the decrescendo,
The cool down with the pedal off–
Cue the second run through to the end zone-
Watch the fermata--
Where we hold a bit— longer,
Because my Billy Joel
Is a tender percussionist
As I sing the melody, we both keep rhythm
As we make peace from our sturdy bench,
Across a 52-key ivory coast.
I Go Toward the Well
I walk to the well
To see how much water can fill
My eager bucket.
The water does not have to quench thirst,
For I but come to observe the way liquid plays
In the solid wood.
I run to the well--
To splash fresh water onto my face.
With it, my tears and sweat blend together
And I beseech relief to meet me.
The water reflects to me a steadiness
That was not allowed to me by
Distractions and a raced pace.
I look into the designated hole on the ground
And see the sky above,
Bright and dancing.
And darkness ceases to be a thing of fear.
Instead, it’s a theatre for potential
Within the well toward which I run.
Today, I sit by the well.
And watch as strangers, too,
Draw their bucketfuls.
I am not ready yet to look again
Into the depths of the designated hole on the ground,
So I will wait
Until I have no choice but to pick up my wooden retriever
And let it fall and scoop up
What it will.
What "Apart" Meant
We rented the room at the end of the hallway
On D Building’s silent
With odd-numbered rooms on the right
And even-numbered rooms to the left.
Our neighbor’s door
Was marked with red paint.
Or was it marker?
With a hexagonal wooden ornament
and cased-in mirror.
The street we chose was hidden away
From the loud krump of the city.
Our building had a forcefield temperature setting
Of at least 70 degrees.
We opened an eggshell-coated entrance,
And saw the sunlight shining through the edges of thick, heavy, cream-colored curtains.
There was a queen-sized bed, walking space, and big, white dressers with mirrors.
There was a painting of a white lily mounted over the headboard.
And the best part:
Opaque, glazed, glass doors that could meet together in the middle to close
And could glide to the sides of the room if we so chose to open them.
My then-roommate, ex-lover, past-friend, now-stranger
Would cook in our sun-lit kitchen.
He built a nest in the balcony for birds hiding from the rain,
“Since,” he said, “the trees outside do not have sturdy enough branches.”
He was a live-in Saint Francis of Assisi,
An in-house Snow White.
Our apartment can be found at the corner of where the motorcycles were parked, or are parked.
As I visit the details of our home in Ramkhamhaeng 26, I remember:
Being “apart” meant that we would no longer be roommates, no longer lovers, no longer friends.
My now imaginary friend lives in another space, with another woman, where he cooks
In another kitchen, and cares for another bird, in another nest, in the present tense.
Beware of Blueberries