Semi-Well Adjusted Adult (Rough Draft)

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I’m getting older.
The dishes are piling up in the sink.
I still run into potholes on the road.
And the bathroom mirror reflects seven years
Of bad luck and counting.

I pictured life would be cleaner, an easy swipe
On a knife with a sponge.
But even with prescriptions, adulthood
Is kind of messy
And, if you want me to be perfectly honest,
I’m starting to like it that way.
It reminds me of last August, when I started driving
Down rubbery roads salted with dust,
Framed by ancient trees.
The only time I stopped was to find a place to sleep—
Dirty motels—
And to find a place to belong—mostly barrooms,
Brick buildings with sloppy paint jobs covering the doors
And sometimes the windows.
Tired overweight men would meet me there after work, talking
To me as a daughter, but confessing they only gave
Me secrets because they couldn’t talk like this
with their wives anymore.
Once I realized I wasn’t home, I left again
And again
Until I stopped searching for a finale
And just drove to the next town before I got bored,
Got lost,
Then grew so comfortable
When I stopped looking,
Or cared
If I found anything at all.

I came back after the first cool front
And everything was still a mess,
But why bother cleaning up what’s
Meant to collect grime overtime.
It’s not failure to thrive, but
to survive despite the conditions,
growing older and maybe, somewhat
growing up to know a little more since birth.

Anniversary (Revisions)

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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,

soap dishes,

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)

mashed potatoes,

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

windows

before our first key,

threshold?

 

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.