A CHOICE BETWEEN GRIEF AND NOTHING
The end of every day the same
red wagon on the sidewalk,
the same sky and stars,
the same garage,
the door never closes
Margaret won't allow it.
She wishes for a Gatsby,
a ginger smelling man to take her shoes
and walk her off to nowhere,
tell her you ain't got nothin'
making it sound as if she were everything,
she wants to feel the trembling stop,
feel the corner of her mouth wet with his eye,
she wants to see the sun burst in two
watch the charred corners of her life fade.
Next door, Doris puts leftovers in the fridge,
eyes baked grey from too many Manhattans;
her husband Carl sells insurance,
pins national geographic maps on his workshop wall.
He likes to eye Margaret as she hangs the wash,
pretends to cover his face
adjusts the wires and plants that criss-cross above the front door.
Doris has a symphony of petals
she uses to mark the sidewalk,
reminds her of John;
the shiny new Crown Vic,
slicked black hair
the way he looked like an American icon
even as the exhaust burned a hole in his dream.
Margaret waves hello,
Carl stuffs a bandanna in his pocket
watches Doris wet the back of her neck with a glass.
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