After Happily Ever After Wendy Taylor Carlisle

After Anesthesia

So much energy went into healing that July,
the soaked afternoons that ripened one into another
when, sick with love, lush with papayas, guavas, I lay
under the laboring GE fan, my thin white shirt stuck
to my skin, my mind on fall, the cool air
slumping down the weather map one picometer at a time,
bringing relief from Canada for the betraying heat. And so
my tomatoes never got properly ripe while the neighbors’
Big Toms swelled ruby on their metal cages, dripped
when bitten, tasted of the mountains I thought of as home,
of him, his breath on my shoulder when I was tight
and hot as a milk cow’s udder, waiting for the rain to stop.
Today, I wait for the back steps to dry, the yeast to rise.
I’m too tired to cook, details confuse me: jalapeño, cumin,
cucumber, basil, the froth of Arkansas Travelers in the chopper
as each dinner slips away like a slick seed off the edge
of the cutting board. Salsa, gazpacho, slices of warm red
from the special knives, slices of a life I wanted
to ripen, the metallic taste, the slow coming awake.


October 2003 2River