Plenty of Time

clock jacek yerkaI’m racing for the light. The flashing orange hand counts down. On the other side of the street waits the supermarket where I’ll load up on almond milk and broccoli before hurrying back across to pick up my son at school. Still twenty yards away, my legs groan in resistance. The backpack chafes my shoulders. I curse under my breath.

When did reaching the other side of the street rise to such prominence in the pantheon of meaning? What is it I hope will happen when I achieve this singular purpose? In all likelihood, the produce section will revert to its simple functionality. Cinderella’s pumpkin at the twelfth stroke. I’ll grab what I need and try to outrun the lady with the full cart who’s headed for the short checkout line. The purchases will turn into a hasty dinner and an even hastier breakfast. At the office tomorrow, I’ll hustle through tasks, trying to stay a step ahead of the next item on the list. Then I’ll dash out to catch the metro in time to catch the bus in time to make it to my son’s school in time to pick him up at after care in time to go home and have dinner and do it all over again.

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Desire Path

MacDonald Frances Desire Path

Then and this. Now and here.

A pause.

Cool air shivers skin. The bus engine grumbles below plastic seats molded to cup a human’s soft places. Thighs of meat padding bone. Outside, women in a pack bustle down the sidewalk in jeans stretched taut.

The days grow shorter.

Even so, I forget. Forget to stop and touch the zinnia with its five shades of orange tethered to a center like chocolate. Forget to let the crepe myrtle dip across my cheek. Barely notice a fat bee chugging past me towards what bursts from the hedges. A body that should be too weighty for the tissue of wings somehow stays airborne.

I forget that eventually, everything falls. I forget to catch drift.

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Still Move Through

Put it on ice
at first
to keep the swelling down.
Pain masked
is the absence of pain. The mind
is both
trickster
and patsy.
Play.
It’s game.

It will throb.
Talk like an auctioneer
over it. Back up and run
like a diesel
locomotive
over it
again.
Keep turning
over
it until
it’s tilled under
and at last
pulse reclaims its place
as the beat
that drives
this rig.

 

Tin Man

Chain and door lock

He is a knot
lashed to a lock
hasp snapped tight
as lips.
Planting himself at the edge of the room
he holds fast to the border
between thrust and withdrawal, steel bars clamped
across his chest.
Silence thuds out from the footing
where he has sunk
his fury
and pulses
through the planks of the floor.

It is impossible to know what someone else feels.
I know exactly what he feels.
The vise grip jaw is mine
writ small. The iced chassis, his
unfortunate inheritance.
I approach with a voice of WD40, the thin straw
laying a bead across the distance between us.
It takes its time leaching in along the thread
of his coil, feeling for tumblers
and any hint of give. I fold my arms
like the mouth of a spaniel
around him and trust in the unctuous
persistence of my proximity
until his grip slips loose
enough to push free.