Sunday Morning Too

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Sunday Morning Too

Complacencies, freedom, and catastrophe mingle on my stilled street too. This Sunday morning. I stand by the curb atop a drainage grate waiting for my wife to return. Something she forgot to load for business and the road. Raised iron letters spell HARPER ’58 JACKSON MISS—I’ve never noticed that. By the church, families arrive, dressed in a procession of peach, plum, and berry colors, in light cotton fabrics that won’t retain July heat. The massive oak in front of our house releases brown leaves like missives from dead limbs delivered over wide grass by the wind’s indifferent feet. I have not saved enough for all that will fall from this tree, God willing. Then, the wife, smiles, and more goodbyes. The sun, like Jove, shines off a neighbor’s Volvo, bright enough to be the sun itself. Alone again, with only a few encroachments: A young couple walks their dog, thin and purebred, like them. I imagine the two fresh from the sweat of sex. Passing, she says, with sweet rhetorical questions, It wasn’t really the diet, was it? She didn’t even want to diet, did she? I’m not sure what she ate. Women talk, and their talk endures. It cost this man his whole life—who thinks about the dog’s holy silence—and a myriad of facial expressions practiced for these talks and walks. Three houses away, a mother brings home milk. An actual mother of dreaming beauties, and actual milk—but also metaphors, mystical, like the leaf and street and dog and church. Back inside, I write a poem while pipe smoke circles and folds in ambiguous undulations like thoughts. Actual thoughts. My daughter with disabilities sleeps on the hush of extended medicinal wings. My dog snores. The quiet is respite, and I hold it like a pillow, which mimics the curves, hips, breasts, and waist of my wife, but made of feathers. Which cost something a life, once upon a time. Forty years ago, the room would be my dad’s—steam rises from the iron as he presses his Sunday shirt, the Florida Boys sing their Happy Jubilee, the window unit pushes cold air toward us like the future. Which is the actual future and here now in place of all that time drove off till made manifest itself in casual and lingering dark.

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