I’ve been listening to our neighbors pack up to leave as I stir to keep the rice from burning.
What did they find out
in the time between our wedding
and one year later? Did we interrupt
their silence on the other side of the wall,
listened to usual moving day chatter
about the thrift store table,
and items we hoarded for a month?
The clink of utensils on china as we spooned our first Sunday meal
seeped through the walls with the savory aroma as we sat down to
meat loaf (your favorite)
and corn (I knew you wouldn’t touch).
The wife is waiting for her other half to return with the U-Haul truck. The rice pilaf is cooling on the counter.
Did they ever pass us by on the street
or aisle ten at Rouses,
catch a glimpse of our courtship, then reminisce?
Like us, they are married too, so they probably nod
patiently as we balance grocery bags on the edge
of bursting, knowing the debates before us
(where do we put the ketchup, toilet paper, light bulb?).
The fine creases in our upbringing still creep into
our honeymoon phase like the way
you call for a washcloth before a shower,
and I simply call it a “small towel”.
Or how you wakes up early while I savor the sleep in
on a day off. Little differences give love an edge,
but did they also understand how
the night and day
of you and me
completed the bricks
before our first key,
I’m hearing a voice rise for someone in another room. I’m opening the oven to check on the progress of our evening plans.
How soon before they realized we were night owls,
hearing entwined laughter
and the glow of a TV screen at 1 am
before submissions to sleepy kisses,
a fluid embrace
I value as our first love language?
We found out how to appreciate quiet
after our entry level grind,
quickly gave the evening to the tourists
as we sank together on the couch,
then soaked in another molasses Sunday.
They are hauling furniture to the moving van. I’m setting
the table as the meatloaf cools.
Soon, it will be just you and me again,
left to discover more of this post-altar underground,
while carrying daytime adult business,
and drowsy eyes at the orange-pink
view from the balcony once dusk sets in.
I’m waiting to listen to how we survived another day
as we build more bedrooms,
brick by brick,
catching still life moments fit for the Polaroid
while looking back, but today, you’re kissing
my forehead to sooth my jumpiness when you silently
enter the living room with tulips for the first time
all over again.