The Inefficiencies

Kim Garcia

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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