Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What We Do

I was at my dad’s apartment
when my sister called to tell us
that my mother was Stage 4
and the doctor’s only gave her
6 months left to live.

My father and I looked at each other
and without one word
we immediately,
and simultaneously,
began cleaning his apartment.

I took the coffee table.
It was littered with coins and
half-eaten packs of mint Rolaids.

He took the carpet next to the front door,
gathered up his dirty clothes,
wound an orange extension cord around his arm
which had been tangled against the wall
and plugged into nothing.

I picked a book up off the table.
Can’t remember what.
Probably Clancy.
The pages were warped by time and weather.
I tried to close it
But it wanted to stay open and contorted.

We didn’t cry then.
That’s not what we do.
We fix things.
And by God, we’d fix this.

We’d organize all those coins
into tightly pressed rolls
fit for a bank deposit.
We’d plug that extension cord into something useful
And iron out those unkempt Clancy pages.

Then we’d do the dishes
And the laundry
And paint the walls
And steam clean the carpet.

Then we’d get fucking serious.

We’d take it outside.
Sweep up all the deserts.
Towel off all the oceans.
Organize the stars into a nice sensible grid.

We’d take all the chaos
And give it structure,
Give it meaning,
Finally make some sense of this goddamn madness
Once and for all.

Because that’s what we do.

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