I'LL DECORATE THE WHOLE HOUSE WITH PARTICLEBOARD IF I HAVE TO
We talked about you, Catullus, while we counted out the screws
and nails and decided to read the directions in Spanish.
We sorted parts, identified left and right panels, threw the box
across the room and left it there. While I was groping
under the couch for part 12E, she told me how you left her
in the bar while you had a smoke with the waitress,
never came back. Again. By the time we were ready to nail
anything together, she'd had eight beers and wanted bigger nails:
long ones that would take time to pound in, ones that needed
hard swings and lots of 'em. She never missed a swing,
just kept striking and hissing One eye, two eyes, bye bye blue eyes.
The dresser isn't for me, Catullus--I haven't bought particleboard
since I graduated--but I helped her haul that piece of shit
down the hall while she asked me for a handbook: 101 Joys
of Being Single or The Illustrated Fieldguide to Undateable Men.
I left her in the computer room with her half-unpacked suitcase
and dresser smelling of styrofoam and cleaned up the spare parts,
torn packaging, crumpled cans in the living room. I have
her phone; I grabbed it while she was searching for wood glue.
I'm tempted to erase your number, to throw the phone
into the dumpster with the box and plastic wrappings.
I could wait to wake her tomorrow until the garbage men
empty the trash. I'll say it was an accident. Then we could go
shopping--get a nightstand for her, maybe some coffee tables.
We'll spend the day assembling them. And Sunday?
Sunday we'll go looking for an entertainment center.
Sarah Miller moves more often than is good for her, has stuff in
storage in more states than she should, and still has not seen the
Grand Canyon. Her poems have appeared previously in Stirring, Wicked
Alice, Philament, 2River, Absinthe Literary Review, 3rd Muse, Poems
Niederngasse, Bloom Review, Imago Poetry Journal, and Verse Libre. She
has received a Pushcart nomination and was runner-up in Imago Poetry's
2004 Robert Graves Award; she is the editor of Half Drunk Muse.