Why Not Be
For Elsie and Elliot (1969-2003)
For the daily ladies tucked under plastic bonnets,
Like caterpillars conquering crosswalks,
Delicate in their deaths,
O your care in choice of raincoat for the sameness of these days
Is beautiful, and your blossoming umbrellas.
Determined daub of mauve on your cheek:
The cane that gives a man elegance
Gives you frailty.
I love your millimetric progress,
Your epic outings to the drug store,
Your symphony of symptoms,
The life force in your brittle bones.
Edging the spectacular heart attacks of your menfolk,
Their full throttle extinctions,
You crawl past eager rush-hour fenders:
Death will just have to wait.
Sundays are for the contemplation of stains,
The spills that can no longer be concealed.
What say you, o virtuous Rubbermaid maidens?
Your bowers emptied of their linens,
Your lover awakening to naked bolsters,
A strange and towelless bathroom,
Your Sterilite hampers fill the world with the promise of salvation.
I here record the morning’s tragic miscalculations.
The Boy Scout sleeping bag the Maytag turned to brain matter.
Amid the dryer’s unstoppable topple,
One red sock amid the white sheets, waiting to detonate.
Signs of fabric-softened breath composed are heaved
“I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed”
I have something here that’ll take that out.