|Jan/Feb 2010 Spotlight|
The familiar small-knuckled tap on my front door,
our landlady who shares the duplex
who's got two fat eggplants, one in each hand,
and says, "He's sick," and at first I think she means
her dog, Goose, who gets nervous and pukes
and I wonder why he'd want to eat eggplant anyways.
And then I remember: Melanzane alla Parmigiana for her
boyfriend whom I've never met, who lives alone
like she lives alone. She makes him pizza
every Thursday, has done so for years, and tonight
they were going to try something new, spice up
their routine with a new dish.
She is my mother's age, in the middle
of her life, like a rowboat at sea,
always reading when she eats
and sometimes sitting on her side of the fence
doing pastel drawings of the redwoods,
blackberry bushes, and cypress.
Her boyfriend is dying.
I know almost every day she must hear
Jonathan and I having sex
and laughing and dancing around
like the first couple in the garden,
heathens, eating and fucking and spilling Charles Shaw
on the rented blue carpet. We try to be quiet.
But our crockery is always boiling over and rarely
do we think of the dark behind the darkness.
I stand with the door open even when she's gone,
even when the cold is coming in, uninvited,
and settling down on everything we own,
even when the snow blows in
and we begin to freeze into statues of our young, hard selves.