“These fucking flowers just break my heart,”
Emily says. She’s sad today about the plants
she can’t stop killing, and most days.
I’m sad too, but only slightly,
though not about the plants,
though that is one thing
a person could be sad about,
and other things.
She is folding laundry
and staring at the impatiens
with heavy necks just out the window.
“And I bought way too many blueberries,” she says.
It’s not what she wants to say.
It has nothing to do with anything, I think.
But then it does.
I imagine how they must have
called out to her in the market,
fully ripe and neatly vibrating,
barely able to keep the juice
inside their slight skin.
She knows the produce boy there by name.
I don’t. He is tall and lanky,
he makes the melons
seem heavier than they are,
his skinny arms slowly stacking them.
I’ve watched him do his work,
carefully examining each one,
trying to catch some fatal flaw
in every bitter rind.
The house is whirring and chugging
and occasionally something buzzes.
The floors have a slick candy shine across them.
Sometimes I wake up
and Emily’s been cleaning all morning.
She does this when nothing else can break that spell.
Later, they set the cheese on fire
in the Greek restaurant,
and the wine is cheap
and kind of painful.
Emily has had too much, maybe.
It is hard to tell.
She goes quiet from time to time
the way moon goes dark on cloudy nights.
The cellist stares at the carpet
while his neck
plays beautiful music.
I’ve been working on a theory
that says here is good,
it is as good a place as you will find.
I’m even sometimes tempted to say
that I don’t regret anything, not really.
But that’s not true.
I’m full of it. But its not quite regret.
It’s something darker
it flies around in me quietly
like a sheet of paper.
Occasionally a waiter zips across the floor.
And then it starts to snow again.
I can see the flakes lit from the inside,
here or there, by the row of streetlights.
At one point
we’ll decide we can’t go on
saving one another anymore.
I mean, everybody.
And that will be terribly sad
to know we will have to go it alone.
It feels like too much, honestly,
to think about.
Like there is finally too much
out there, too much to consider.
And it means something
it means you must go on living mechanically.
It means you must go on living
the way a machine does
that refuses to let people die,
that goes prrft poof prrft
on and on.
Which is not how I want to love somebody.
But then, I think, it is.
Which is why I am going to take her home tonight
and hold her in some kind of way
that probably does not even exist.
In a kind of way that seems as if,
at least for a while,
something is finally,
And I’m going to tell her something,
and the only way I can,
which is with words,
which is just too little always,
no matter how real
the breath attached to each.