She smoothes out the Saturday paper
as if pressing a favourite shirt,
runs her finger along the ink, then licks it. Some things
I’ll never understand. How the shup-shup
of her slippers cancels out those 6am garbage trucks,
the desperation of alarm clocks, and the hum
of a refrigerator we’d hoped to replace years ago,
before we found ourselves mid-lease, in debt, laid-off.
Matching towels and sheets our consolation
for those weeks we didn’t spend in Thailand
on the beach. Our friends, who went, mailing us postcards,
asking to stay with us when they got
home. The sound of her slippers on hardwood
bringing me tea, an anecdote from the everyday,
something as simple as gesture, the way she
tests the bath water before stepping in.
Published online July 01 2004.