Things That Are Long and Things on Fire

Things that are long

The year it felt like everyone was dying
The year everyone actually died
The years 2016 to 2020, also 2015, and January, always
The five days before your parents can get a Covid test after you
exposed them
The apology while smoking after court the day we got divorced
Thirteen years in the length of one cigarette
My thoughts, spilling across the floor, caught on corners and dragging
They need a trim like
split ends, different directions, me towards the collarbone, you the
Too long it took us to get there, story protracted, like a bleak house
Next time, I want a joyful home and a blunt cut
I quit smoking a long time ago and I quit secret smoking the year
before last
and I recovered from Covid too
Maybe some kind of bob or a buzz cut even
When it’s too long, no one wants to finish it


Things on Fire

A flat, so small, the stove
was also the counter, the rice
cooking on the back burner
and the cutting board, balanced on the front,
red peppers sliced thin
one time, I turned my back for a minute to finish
the climax to a story, you yelled

the cutting board was on fire

the door to the shower hit against the toilet and
you had to turn sideways to get in
the bathroom was through our bedroom
I hid under the covers in the morning so your brother
could come through and pee
nothing ever quite fit

I have seven countertop appliances in
this house in America and, I swear
there are still eight square feet of countertop and
I have never lit a cutting board on fire here
if I curl up in a ball, my body takes up maybe
2.5 cubic feet of this expansive place, a fraction of
how many balled up people could fit here
there are parallels, in this kitchen too, I was
distracted by the details, while the climax happened
behind me



Image: Portland Review