When he published his late wife’s book,
it brought back the woman he’d loved before,
& the son he’d never known.
By fulfilling her last wish,
she’d fulfilled his.
His whole married life,
she’d been a mystery.
It was only through her death
that he solved the puzzle she’d been–
realizing that because he’d loved what he’d known,
he could love what he had not.
She had stayed with him through sickness,
he, through health;
she, through poorer,
he, through richer.
The worse was greater than
& yet she stayed,
for the promise had said “or”
& not “and.”
They changed roles out of necessity–
him becoming the house husband,
her becoming the career woman–
modeling themselves after what worked for them,
& not their Mormon counterparts.
His thumb was green
even as hers was black,
but with his fertilizer
in her fertile ark,
they reproduced one of each–
after their own kind.
Scrabble & Sudoku
often got into word fights,
making it a numbers game,
but when they learned how
to relate to one another,
who confounded them both,
He wrote “How-To”,
she wrote “Who’s Who?”,
so she didn’t know how,
& he didn’t know who.
When Airhead met Egghead,
he put his yolk upon her,
& she whipped him into meringue.
Money was the only thing
that ever came between them:
he made not enough,
& she made too much.
They were two sides of a bad penny—
she was pigtails & ponytails,
he was an unwashed head
but together they weren’t worth
one red cent.
She took a math class to learn about absolutes,
a science class to learn about theories,
but to learn about life,
she took the humanities.
Having been raised to let a man care for her,
she never knew her gifts beyond domesticity,
until she married the man who needed her care,
She went back to school for a medical degree,
only to find herself in English class,
writing about how her medical degree
would pay for her English degree.
With her Master’s,
she chose to become a SAHM.
Those who said she wasted her education,
could not see the knowledge
she passed on to her children.
Because she feared College Algebra,
she quit the first time,
but 15 years later,
she found herself backed against a
crumbling financial wall,
& knew she had to overcome that
which she could not understand.
When they did their DNA,
Dad traded in his wooden shoes
for a Viking helmet,
but Mom could not trade in
her Black Irish hair
for the auburn that could have been hers
if she’d been born sooner.
His siblings and cousins had been close
when they were children,
but when the patriarch,
who said family was everything,
it proved that he was the everything
that had held the family together.
Dad wore many uniforms,
Mom wore many hats,
but as for me & my brother,
we wore many masks.
When the Irish Catholic met the Roman Catholic,
they had Irish potato gnocchi
& spaghetti with soda bread.
They made it work because,
like many others,
they were all trying to get to the same place—
a gastronomical heaven.
She’d been an idealist before she’d married,
seeing a life of in-laws that were like blood &
double dating with mutual friends,
but when the honeymoon rose again,
his love was all that shone.
She drew pictures in the air,
her eyes conveying the depth,
her body language, the tone.
There wasn’t one voice in the world who could drown out hers.
Her shyness had matured to introvertedness,
& she saw her ability to listen rather than speak
become more appreciated by those who loved to hear themselves.
As a primary speaker of ASL,
she was deaf to his intelligence;
as a primary reader of Braille,
he was blind to her beauty.
She was deaf to his intelligence,
not to his music;
he was blind to her beauty,
not to her art.
It was the text that ended it all,
for had it been face-to-face,
what would have been typed
might have never been said at all.
She told him how she felt
in a 1000 poetic ways–
through the third-person
who was the funhouse mirror
She was one vacation picture away from losing her job,
he, one tweet away from losing his career,
& so they chose to be judged by their actions
rather than their thoughts.
She scrolled down her friend list,
unfriending those she had never known,
but who had been watching her life more than she ever knew.
It took a body hours to die in Earth space,
but years to die in cyberspace,
for families kept the social media accounts
of their loved ones alive,
hoping one of their messages would reach
Her son’s Facebook page–
deactivated after his death by his wife–
was like an erasure of the man she had loved
longer than his wife ever would.
They each lived a double life,
sharing a secondary one.
They each had a spouse,
who knew not what their other half did,
for their lovemaking
was merely the tapping of keys.
Reminiscent of a nursing home,
with its waxy floors
& glossy walls,
the young family
with a strange grandmother
& their little girl
who could not be just that.
A methhead argued with voices
outside her door
while the day laborers
lounged over the rails
under the mythical red roof,
so she kept the light out
to hide the light
that played inside.
Their temporary displacement did not
lapse into permanent homelessness.
& borrowed vehicle,
was a mimicry of what home
had once felt like.
They ended up at the purveyors
of blue eggs & Spam,
leftover church suppers,
& expired goods;
where trains blew their horns
throughout the night,
disrupting dreams of being
where thunder from the trucks
rumbling down the Interstate
became the perpetual score
of their home movie;
where autonomy became
The Thing to Be Re-earned,
in exchange for daily consumption
of humble pie.
Yet it was at this shelter
of second chances
that they would be given
And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:20)