by Rob Rice
Broken man speaks to
His wife on the line
“I don’t blame her”
In response to her saying she’s not coming home anymore
Startled to hear it aloud
He almost notices his eyes are dry
from not having been blinking
Somewhat to her, somewhat to himself, somewhat to god and the accounting
This man has said before “that’s the most insulting thing anyone has ever said to me”
as he is a pretentious man
Although that stems from the fear
He feels like the sound an empty can makes when it’s flicked
But heard through the wrong end of a binocular
He see’s a kid on the sidewalk with his mom, telling him something about
the propriety of street crossing
And he realizes the kid is a lot like a chicken egg
still bound primarily by one edge of time
Babies must dream in such abstractions and with such potent simultaneity of confusion and comprehension
He lost that in his teenage years, an understanding of affective co-incidence
He grew up and delivered himself, returned
when he remembered it
The same thing when, noticing that, on their first night together sexually,
she did not have a flattened stomach, he congratulated himself on his maturity
Always sucking off the rotten yoke, hardened orange and just below the rind.
He impaled his knee in early life, on an icicle, and after it melted it reveled,
him briefly windowed:
a subcutaneous gurgling fat held up knee’s dry skin.
A busload passes and on it more diversity of intention than can be measured
but just fills any space easily like gas.
One man is foreign, so much taller and built for a whole different life,
a life with so much pain and so: so much joy
that at most the other passengers get depressed by the intensity of his and his kind’s celebration and music.
It’s an unpopular music now too, on the surface because it seems naïve
but really more likely because it’s a devastating thing to be reminded of the potential for joy.
His hands are long and so slender
pronounced at the knuckles like arthritis while he’s young.
Another on the bus likes to show off her boyfriend
pouts in his absence.
Some riders ride every day and so know the couple
and unanimously they dislike her
and unanimously they came to realize it one day when the boyfriend didn’t board.
She wears a hood those days
prominently more sweats and soft fabrics
like his absence is flu
we’re all coming down with.