Beth Gordon: April Sixteenth Two Thousand Seventeen

                           The Alice View, by Mary Hatch, 1995, oil on canvas, 36” 40”

April Sixteenth Two Thousand Seventeen

I know this is not my sofa, the fabric chosen and passed
down by long-dead cousins with unlucky fates: bladder tumors,
explosive hearts, a knack for betting the mortgage payment
on a losing horse, these dogs are not my dogs.
I’m going to have to recalibrate my expectations,
the cats know I am a guest, even as the boy pushes
his knotted claws into my arms while I sleep, he knows nothing
will wake me. I know you have a lover who makes you
hum, and the most physical thing I do is finger words, roll
them like biscuit dough. I know
the hours we meandered in and out of homemade beer
soap, questionable fudge and copper-hammered bangles
were stolen hours. I know the wiper blades are silent,
the low whine starts in my own throat,
driving home on Easter Sunday. I imagine the accidents I could
create, stop my car in the middle of 55 South and shift to reverse,
look over my shoulder and back up for 25 miles. I covet your life,
every part of it, even the dark spots on your MRI that indicate
early onset Alzheimer’s. The mornings that he throws
your breakfast casserole in the garbage and slams the door,
the long drives to Kansas City to visit your widowed uncle, discuss
the prognosis with his children, the leaves in your gutter. A hailstorm
in the distance that can already be heard. I would like to forget everything
that you ever remembered. It’s a sin and I will be judged for it.

Beth Gordon


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