I agreed to put aside the ruined vacation
and he agreed to put aside the slips
in bookkeeping. I admitted that some
of my friends were not the best company —
were, now that I thought of it, intolerable.
And he admitted that his sister had never
liked me from day one. I observed
that everyday objects often intrude
on our best intentions and he offered
that no one should be held accountable
for where the dust settles. The henhouse,
we agreed, might well have welcomed
the fox, the window might have shattered,
anyway, without human intervention.
Effects can spring into being like rabbits
out of a hat, their causes nowhere to be seen.
Just as, in darkness, bodies turn naturally
to one another without need for reason.
Pain pauses in passing to tip its hat, to single
you out with a wink and nod. You're bound
in an alliance you want no part of.
The way the devil reminds you of the pact,
even though you claim to have forgotten it.
The way the dentist tosses off pleasantries,
asks what kind of music you like, before
he sets about drilling and grinding.
Your mother warned you long ago, told you
what would happen when your father got home.
You can't pretend not to know what's coming.
Antonia Clark is a medical writer in Burlington, Vermont. A former writing instructor, she co-administers an online poetry forum, The Waters. Her poems have appeared in Anderbo, The Cortland Review, Eclectica, and Soundzine.