Kitchen Clock

Monday, January 15, 2018
Beware of my friend Jan’s stories,
the one about her tour of the famous church
and the hysterical child, how the mother
had to practically carry the kid out,
the girl, seven or eight, screaming,
I want to see God! I want to see God!
See what I mean. It was almost funny
until Jan explained it was the day after the school shootings
and to think, I didn’t even want to come to dinner,
had a bad cold, longed to be home in bed,
but Jan was visiting, my friend who was trying to change her life,
who’d quit her job, the dark room of her face lit for weeks
with this ridiculous light. Yes, beware of all that hope,
not to mention friends who move away, who tell stories
and then start crying which means you have to rub their backs
and think about those kids and their families
or imagine the little girl in the church, her face
all screwed up—and her mind, what about her mind?
Then I drive home and there are five deer
sitting on the snow in my back yard. And, yes, I know
they eat your tulips and your pansies, that there’s
nothing otherworldly about them—the point is, I’m city
so five of anything and I’m backing up. No antlers
means they’re female, right? One was chewing
something, otherwise they were just calmly watching
me, their eyes so sweet and dumb. And you know where this is going,
of course, how when I get cold and rush inside
and the deer all turn toward the window
even though I didn’t turn on the light, that it’s too late
to act as if my kitchen is just a kitchen
—and that cheap wall clock ticking too loudly
behind me, who’d think that’s what I’d be holding on to
when I finally let go.
Monday, January 15, 2018