I’m pretty happy with the first draft, though there are a couple of things I think need work. If anyone has any comments, I’d love them forever…
Help lift this piano off my head, I whispered
coquettishly. I had tried to sound more
casual, but the memory of the time my
father removed his belt and lashed at
the filthy rug, causing explosions of dust,
causing an asthma attack in my fragile lung
(it always seemed to be a left-lung problem),
kept recurring. I remembered the guilt
that my father had felt, how he had sworn
off cleaning all together after that incident.
I would visit his house in the Autumn, grey
sedan pulling into the unswept drive, as he
coughed his resentment onto the rodent
droppings that littered his verandah. Blood
pressure’s too low again, he’d mumble, as
if excusing the whisky he’d shotgun like a
teen beer drinker. The barley sugars I’d
found in the glove box did not seem to be
adequate peace offering. He’d light a candle
whenever I mentioned her name. She’s not
dead, I’d say, causing the vessels in his eyes
to break. She’s living with a taxidermist in
Adelaide. He’d step closer and breathe cured
meats in my face. What are you going to do,
hit me, I’d say, as he punched me in the face.
And the piano played me out with Non, je ne
Regrette Rien, though it may have been some
Carly Simon track. Don’t be so dramatic, he would
have said, were we still speaking by that point.
Whenever clouds form
elephant or dragon shapes,
my love elbows me.
“One day we will ride those clouds,
“or else we’ll fall together.”
a mountain crest,
or maybe just a wave.
The crest is what appears before