Friday, July 2, 2010

Grocery shopping in December

Unguided, I see the only side
of your eyelids that I’ll ever see,
(their lashes in the kind of tiny disarray
that always leaves you sweetly and unnecessarily embarrassed)
your lips, and the even perceptible movement of your diaphragm,
rocking softly against your breath. I know I return to these details
too often. Forgive me—
my mind, itself a piece of flesh takes what it will.

I spent today sliding from one nowhere to the next. I couldn’t
even say where I’ve been if you asked me, except to murmur
about passing buses like strange cetaceans on the road,
people nodding off in their broad eyes, the whole of them bulky,
terrifying, peaceful.

But you won’t ask, and I wonder what you’d think to see me
composing this in the supermarket as I try to decide between
saifun, bean noodles, and maifun, rice noodles. I think it would make you sad.
I think you never meant to hurt me and if you did the extent of it absolves you;
this simply cannot all be your fault.

You’d know to read this that this isn’t what I’m like. I get through the day.
I laugh frequently. It’s a statement about the quality
of memory, those unabandonable keepsakes waiting for the correct light,
the special placelessness of an aisle in a supermarket on the way home
to stage their bloodless ambush and retreat.

I make some decision, pay, and walk outside. I take a long time
unlocking my bike and putting the lights on before slipping away
through the tectonic stillness of city traffic.

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