Monday, November 12, 2007

A far and distant landmass

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Bad News Travels At Night

It arrives at three am with its bags unpacked,
doesn’t bother knocking, and asks for money.
It is a stranger whose first name is known to you,
but one you’d rather forget. It pushes past you
and dumps out all the drawers, rifles through
cabinets you were sure were locked. On the floor,
all the intentions you’ve had since last spring lie strewn
in neglect, their abandoned excuses buried beneath.

As you watch it move from room to room, you
realize there isn’t enough food in the house. Such
naked hunger is almost beautiful to observe, so
you do. And in doing so, you watch yourself watching
as if from above, as if some clever cinematographer
placed a camera to catch every perfectly framed nuance.

Someone has quit, or died, or run away with your gardener
who promised he’d trim that front hedge by Thursday.
Someone doesn’t love you anymore, or does still, in spite
of what you truly are. Someone has fallen out of a window
that leads to the same question of what were they doing there.

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There is not enough coffee in the world to keep the cup full
during this interminable time. It will root in your attic and
drag everything up there down to the cellar and everything
in the cellar up to the attic. China returns to being a far and
distant landmass on a map that’s just been torn from the wall.

Phones you didn’t know you have begin ringing and telegrams
appear at the open door. Messages are being wired through
your central nervous system and every one demands a signature.
When it leaves, there isn’t a single fingerprint in the house.

You try to describe the intruder but cannot keep the sketch
artist’s interest. You want to be a victim, but realize that would
mean everybody. So you slowly begin packing away what it left,
trundling it back up and down, rearranging the semblance of
routine and intention until you can live in your new digs again.

Joseph Gallo
November 12, 2007

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