I’m selling off much of my life today and hers
by rights. It’s the day before mother’s day
and mine is seven hundred miles away.
Our son’s is twice that far.
With some other guy’s mother.
There isn’t much of a turnout. Which is fine
with me. I just sit there and listen to the music
I brought down from the house.
Write poetry. And think back on all the other days
before mother’s day.
That pretty cotton skirt I bought her in Seattle?
Some woman in sweat pants took it first thing
this morning. About three sizes too large.
Her, not the dress.
The sled went next. The guy gave five bucks for it;
wanted to know if it worked.
Yeah I told him, but you need snow.
Here comes my neighbor from next door. This guy’s
had cancer and lived through it. Real bad cancer.
We had some trouble a while back but I went
to the hospital and made peace with him.
Just in case he died.
Makes his way through dog-eared paperbacks,
old car parts and a table of worn-out jeans and sweaters.
Wants to know if I’m having a garage sale.
Look in the dictionary next to the
word bore, you’ll see his picture.
There’s something fascinating about people who will
rummage through anyone’s life as long as it’s
a Saturday or Sunday. And it doesn’t cost
more than a buck. Do they know that’s the dress she
was wearing the night I asked her to marry me? The down
jacket my other neighbor just carried off? That
was from our first Christmas here.
We must have made love
under it a thousand times.
But most of life is met and lived in the ordinary and it
is there the extraordinary finds me. This woman,
pretty, a redhead, acts like she’s looking
for something; she is. Keeps sneaking glances at me. I need
the practice so I start talking to her. Turns out
we have some things in common. I like women,
redheads, she likes old drunks and
Then she’s sitting down reading some of the things
I’ve written. It reaches her; the work. The parts I won’t sell,
on paper, that’s what I have to tell her.
thing leads to another and we have our arms around
each other. Just holding on.
Dear God, don’t let it end!
For that thousand-year moment. For the first time in months I feel
safe and loved. And for that long moment
I am at peace.
People are just standing there, watching us.
I want to tell them all to leave; take her upstairs,
get to know her better.
I’m married . . .
. . . she whispers.
Everyone has gone. I’m boxing up the last of my life,
the stuff my new friends didn’t carry away. As I count the
money they’ve left, I find one has paid with hope; in exchange
for a small item of sadness I no longer needed. It’s starting
to rain but all I feel is sunshine inside; it takes me
all the way through to tomorrow.
You see, those people left parts of their lives with me.