Not one of my more pleasant poems, but I woke from the dream with it demanding to be written.

Darren and I didn’t have one of the better partings that I’ve experienced. He cheated on me with a much younger woman before, by just about any standards, the honeymoon period was even over. We’d been friends for years before we married, so I lost a friend in the bargain, too. In a lot of ways, that hurt the most.

Sometimes the real goodbyes are the ones the other person never hears.



(for Darren)

Last night I opened the pressboard door
Into a room that was white and featureless
Except for two straight-backed chairs
Set against opposite walls.

You were on one of them, naked,
Your body covered with small holes
Like a trigger picture for that internet
Phobia that had its fifteen fake minutes.

I sat in the other chair, skin acrawl,
And watched as you whistled. From
Each hole, a fat, pale grub poked out its head,
And one by one, you caught and crushed them.

It went on, fifty and then a hundred dead grubs
At your feet, until you looked up, seemed to
Notice me for the first time, and said your throat
Was sore. Would I do the whistling for you?

I could whistle higher than you, so the grubs
Came out further, were easier for you to catch
And crush, but still you did it slowly, first one,
Then another, as if the whole thing bored you.

I whistled until I began to cough blood
And said in a rasp that I had to stop now.
You smiled and asked if I could kill them
As well — not switch places, but do it all.

And then I understood. I got up from the
Stiff and uncushioned chair and walked out
Into my garden of early October chrysanthemums
And not a single bee, pulling the door shut as I went.


(photo: Wikipedia…and you’re welcome for my not posting the more obvious choice)


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