Sixth Month

     Albumen, protein, salt, and that bright
yolky stuff to scoop with a spoon. Sugary tea,
     burnt coffee. What you'd gulp down
before running to catch a bus or cab.
     Cellular life now. Our limited inter-
actions, the loneliness of stacked toilet paper. 
     Describe the last time you stood in
a public place: a bar, a plaza, a night market.                                  
     Ecclesiastes speaks of a time to rend,   
a time to sew. Every needle flashing now:
     frantic, all the lolas and aunties 
unable to keep up with so much mending; 
     gardens of eggplant, tomato and winged bean                            
that their fingers are better suited to tending. 
     Houses that were all open doors, stews
bubbling in pots, everyone coming and going.                        
     Inside is empire and exile, pyramid
littered with ordinary treasure. For sport,
     jugglery and joysticks though you can't 
keep more than two balls in the air. Mornings
     knock on your eyelids later and later;
then the quick drop back into night.
     Long, short— what is a day's measure?
We're nearly at year's end, or its beginning.
     Memory is everyone's middle name now;
and virtual our destinations. Your restless
     nature, the instrument you tune and play
constantly without getting the melody right.
     Objects of your affection can turn 
more peevish than you think. Distractions in  
     postal deliveries, granting they arrive
on time: books, sheet music, workout equipment, 
     quilting supplies. You've ripped out
your knitting four times now, miscounting
     rows while watching British detective 
series reruns. Quieter in the neighborhood, no
     singing at 2 am in rowdy frat houses.
Tell me what you miss most and I'll 
     tell you who you are. Long dresses are
never unfashionable, and weddings never   
     unnecessary: it's not the first time 
people get hitched by distance. The real 
     villain is what threatens to bloom into  
a lethal fever. Not love, not lust 
     withering to nothingness; only
the flesh, the lungs, the heart, the bones. 
     Xerograph dusted with resinous powder,
fixing the image through heat on a surface.
     You close your eyes and shapes flicker
beneath your lids: even in all of this, you're
     zealous about remembering as much as you  
can about the world we used to think we had.



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