I don’t love the freeway,
or the long necks of argon
that lean over my car,
or rain, filling up reservoirs
with its inches.
But since you died, I can’t afford not to.
Because you’ll never see this again.
There isn’t itching where you are,
bits of eggshell stuck to dishes.
Six months, and you’re buried beside our father,
which you wouldn’t have liked.
But bones aren’t afraid of bones.
Once I went into a gift shop,
came out, annoyed by lace, tea towels with ducks and hearts,
toilet paper stamped with daisies;
it made me want to see bandages, litter,
kelp covered with flies,
or gulls that eat anything.
They flap, screeching over a dune,
waddle towards a sandwich,
stalk and quarrel,
eyeing the greasy paper it’s wrapped in,
even a plastic fork with its broken tines.
Yesterday I stepped in dog shit, tracked it over the rugs,
the kind of mistake you would never have made.
You hated it when I walked on the beach with you,
tracked tar in your car.
You threw out a blouse with a single stain.
Now you’re there, stenciled into perfection,
your name carved into stone.
And I’m here. The day sprinkles its minutes across me.
I’m throwing out the garbage, crinkling a paper bag,
savoring the taste of water from a dented Dixie cup.
How you hated ruin:
how you felt it was a slur in the pores.
You threw money at it: scarves, shoes,
blusher, concealer, facelifts, pills.
How finally you threw your life at that dirty thing.
© Ellery Akers