Leaving - poem
From Failed Love Poems (VUP, $25)
Because we are at the centre of this story we don’t even need names, she said. He reeled her in, in the middle of the sagging couch. Their apartment was the size of a first apartment, their television was the size of a first television, they forgot to turn it on, they forgot all of their other firsts. The neighbours had stolen their rubbish bin. They were out of tinfoil. He left for work. He was very fast now, that’s what the tips said. He always brought home soup. She forgot about the first contract, wrote another. I am addicted to —. I will give up —. They had stopped smoking (mostly). They had really tried. Let’s really try, she said. Their friends came by. The neighbours tried to steal their mattress, a canvas, a box of shoes. People here are the worst kind of hungry, he said. She said, Not everyone knows about contracts. He came home from work and she was all fast-fast and grinning, she had covered a canvas in dirty pastels and bees. I’m wondering, he said, what kind of a cleaner life is going on for us in a place that’s not here? Soup again, cold and welcome. They sat in the sag that no one tried to steal. And they loved each other and they loved each other, and they microwaved each other’s meal.
joanflemingpoet.com. Illustration: Kushana Bush, ‘Distracted Kneeling Lovers’, 2011.