After Happily Ever After Wendy Taylor Carlisle


I hate that return path through the lot next door,
the Johnson grass, the broken toys
an impossible jack-in-the-box, the spring inside
his flimsy body-cloth that I can never stuff back
so Pop Goes The Weasel pops him
every time, or even working my way up the quarter-mile drive--
1320 feet of phylox
weeding. This is the story of
yesterday, which is the day that inevitably
receded into my idea of that day, which preceded or followed
that other, more perfect day, when
the path was cleared, the trash recycled, Jimson trimmed,
the weeding done. Or even a bygone day
only months ago when you were still here,
on your knees by the fresh beds, digging, glittering with sweat,
your chest hair, eyelashes, all the fur
of a lifetime spent avoiding that long talk we meant to have, wet
myself, I kneel beside you and begin the job. We work
down the drive, each of us in a hurry to find out
what happened, each working hard on our own version of history.


October 2003 2River