Friday, January 09, 2015

Gregory Djanikian: Love Poem with Crowbar

I've walked into the house, I'm trying
to put my finger on it. Maybe it's how
things have been reshuffled, the rugs,
the paintings that are playing musical chairs.

Maybe it's the sitting room suddenly
taking on the sharp scent of mesquite,
mesquite side table, mesquite credenza,
black pots on the shelves
with their large open mouths.

I can hear my wife on the back stairs
ripping the carpet up from the treads,
ringing the crowbar with her hammer
like an alarm, watch your step.

There's new wallpaper in the bedroom,
toucans perched in the broad-leaf vines,
lizards among the mangrove branches—
so many ways of looking at it.

It's as if she's rehearsing for some shift,
her small adjustments furthering us away
from the way we're used to.

On the news this morning, a cow
swept up by a tornado, found miles away
unharmed, nuzzling in the grass—
almost as if nothing had happened,
a small upsurge of terror,
then the taste of sweetness.

I don't stand in her way, especially
when her hands are too busy squaring her goggles
and all I can say is “Honey, unplug the Sawzall,
let's have some wine, feed the birds.”

There are river stones on the sill
lined up like ellipses, horse sculptures
on the dresser that are made of straw.

Whatever proves too conclusive,
like this brick wall along the garden,
my wife sees in it the promise of a doorway,
the light slipping through.

Like the way she'll sleep tonight
with her face to the window,
the house quiet except
for her steady breathing,

what I'll be listening closely to,
hearing the river in it,
hearing horses at the edge
of the river, lithe and riderless.

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