Unexpected Expected Guest
You know it's coming when the window leaks,
so you watch between the rain for its face.
It slips in your house like lithium grease
and you are certain it's in the right place --
It shakes your head loose of all of its change
and it spins all your most scratched-up albums;
it knows its short visit was mostly strange,
so it carries a basket of breadcrumbs --
It leaves its smokes on the curb of your sink,
its spice-smell set in your pillows and clothes;
it's heated the house to a deep red-pink
with a cotton-haze hum, and as it goes --
It breathes out black-pepper CO2 fumes,
ensuring you're paused until it resumes.
Come Sunday, my parents will burn to ash.
My father will take his final road trip,
The same drive he spent 40 years learning,
To a hillside beneath a knotted tree,
Where he will laugh in the wind forever.
Constantine, and David, and my Robert;
Soon too Nancy, and Barbara, and Glenn;
Nearby Connie, and Ricky, and Irene;
And one day, the last of them all, Michael.
Come Sunday, I will polish their bronze plaques.
My mother will be reduced to a jar,
Contained as she always hated to be,
But will stay where she always loved to be,
With the single love of her life: with me.
Elma, and Paula Jan, and my Susan
Will build their neighborhood on my mantle,
Watching from their windows like surveyors,
Tittling and giggling forever.
Come Sunday, I will carry them with me.
And come Monday, I will burn to ash too.
I know little more disturbing than thought,
Without which death is but a misplacement
and misplacement, but a slip of the mind;
slip hewn of satin and milk-hued lace lent
by persons lost in my mind-room of rot.
One day soon,
you'll be shorter.
You'll look more
like your father,
with a bigger nose
and smaller ears,
and you'll forget
what we had for breakfast.
One day soon,
I'll be shorter.
I'll still fit
just under your chin
(when your chin is tilted up)
and I'll look more
like my grandmother,
or that's what I think.
One day soon,
we'll be shorter
like twin candles
and we'll shrink,
until we're nothing
but drops of wax.
for my love
"i and my annabel lee," i wrote
(about us, if you couldn't tell)
where i'm i and annabel smells like spicy boy from the country
(you, if you couldn't tell)
where i brushes her teeth before kissing him
before dancing with him in the kitchen,
glazed with rain water,
beside the white chickens
(the ones in the skillet, on the stove)
where annabel parrots her,
then hugs her
and refills her glass,
"whatever you say,
my darling girl,
where i loses every game they play,
and annabel wins,
and later they hold hands,
(and it was)
(and you were)
(and i was)
(and we were)
and they're okay,
they're each others,
"i and my annabel lee."