Norman Ball


The man with first dibs fell
through some unforeseen ice.
Now a vague smudge on the
community plexiglass,
his security is ash,
the cul-de-sac's quota lies
in fresh shambles.

All furnishings stay back
as he might have left them
as he found them the day his wife fell
in love with the self-
kitchening kitchen, his kids blinked
in the room-with-peering-
Everyone could see
where the dog would curl.

The model is how a decorator sees
fabric arranged: pillows and cushions
a calculated frenzy, closets for Imelda,
object d'art staggered like clever chess.
This is the deluxe floor plan stacked
with rooms where rooms can only wait,
deciding what lifestyle fits best:
study, sun, dine, read, fuck, shit.
Life groans like old rafters beneath
shelter's winding ambition. Who lives
enough to deserve this space?

Coaxed like proper prospects,
we kick schools, run imaginary
numbers like deficit-hawks.
The lady recites sly calculations,
sampling our ease with commas.
Will the coupons be happy
amortizing here?

I whistle, picturing a new style,
and mark off where I will find
the small privacies to hide.

Norman Ball is a Virginia-based writer and musician. His poetry has appeared in The Berkeley Poetry Review, The Sow's Ear Review, Lynx Eye, Main Street Rag and The Cumberland Poetry Review.

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