It started early. The ridiculously high heels, and worse
an armload of books. I couldn’t open my locker
on the first day of class. Carried everything everywhere.
There’s a metaphor seeking a truth in that. My friends
took me out into the world, the Houston concrete still white
highways stretching west into ranchland with the dipping
dinosaur heads of derricks. Steer along the fence, an oil barrel,
once wolf pelts, coyotes maybe. Everything seen from the car
window. There and there and gone. In my house bitter nostalgia,
my mother’s brief wealth packed into cupboards and closets
for events she’d never attend, tablecloths for business dinners
she’d never give. She dated a man when she was forty, then fifty.
It went on and on. He was mostly silent, uninterested, like the man
she likes now at the nursing home. He hardly speaks to her, silence
like hate, and she insults him, comments on him like a dog. A long way
around love, no short cuts. No sudden tenderness machetes the knot.
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