Michael A. Griffith teaches at Raritan Valley and Mercer County Community Colleges in central NJ. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, Bloodline, Exposed, and the forthcoming New Paths to Eden. Besides writing poetry, Mike is a textbook editor and writer of short features. He lives near Princeton, NJ.
the heavy air from your shower tickles the lighter air of our bedroom the scents of your shampoo your bodywash dance with my antiperspirant my toothpaste my desire morning light through the shades our eyes catch a few times hurry hurried light conver sation some jokes quick coffee kisses and we go work in different directions dance with the day toward night our night 9-to5 10-to-6 late meeting ran into a friend lost track of time lost the beat get it back as the heavy air from your shower tickles again
Here we are, all has been tried. The abandoned dancing, the singing abandon of children, the flurry and blaze, all that clarity of now. The givens: ours, theirs, all has been tried. Hermit crab trips to the sea, now all we see is 13 miles ahead. Continent of small mountains between us. Emptied shell time zones, manifestos—some shared regret, some divergencies in belief and description; old songs for new. The dance abandoned, the singing remains. Here we are—children—here we are.
These warmest houses these sloppiest of homes these cellared homes harbor harbor everything every mood truth oversight significance and doubt every whisper every worry obvious or obscured in every cold light Kindness ignored or praised unkindness scalpel-cold laid bare on these cold floors of unkindness Solid white houses frigid and looming in memory like postcards of mansions plantations and state capitols Memories of trips not taken or trips long endured Monuments structures planned assembled altered decayed structure language Mother’s tongue to be forgotten as little else can be forgotten in attics Erasure marks still show on paper and pages stained torn spindled and mutilated Photo album Digital memory Focus Amber tape crumbles bytes’ corruption fades Windows don’t close or open properly jitter in hard winds jimmied with harsh hands melt and simmer then ice-over frost at the return of the story and voice the grip the hand the line Burn the fireplace walls floor dust carpet smells and lazy Susan tastes