It wasn’t that she wasn’t adventurous—
it was just that she lived all her adventures in bed—
under the covers & between the pages,
where she didn’t have to worry about dealing with anti-Americanism,
or diseases she’d thought didn’t exist anymore.
She was dust jackets,
they were bullet-proof vests.
After a childhood of climbing over mountains of forgotten Amazon purchases,
wading through an ocean of every free tee-shirt they had ever received,
walking through the labyrinth of towers of cardboard boxes,
& pushing aside stacks of unopened junk mail
to find a place at the kitchen table for the TV dinners they never ate together,
Pamela Comstock eventually tunneled her way out—
only for her husband to never understand why
his wife was always throwing things away—
receipts in the store rubbish before the groceries even made it home,
cardboard boxes he tried to save for their next move,
& junk mail he never got a chance to look at.
He never understood why they had to give away an old sheet set
whenever they bought a new one,
or why they could only have 8 forks & not a tine more,
& why reusable gift bags gave her anxiety.
He did not understand her addiction to containers
for those things she could not give away—
clothes for the next baby,
non-virtual photo albums,
& Christmas decorations.
For Pamela spent her time not acquiring things
but stockpiling memories, stories, & experiences
so that her head became that place
where she dumped all her clutter—
a place where no one could see
& no one could judge.
He was a book reviewer,
she, a food critic.
He loved trashing the words of others
with his own,
with words of her own.
But when the writers threw their words
back at him,
& the chefs turned the dining tables
back on her,
they discovered that he couldn’t write
any more than she could cook—
that they were nothing but alphabet soup
right out of the can.