TWO POEMS – Ally Malinenko

Posted: July 10, 2012 in Fiction, Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

Passing Ordinary Time
It was a Sunday
followed by a Monday.

It was a story told in three parts, over the course
of a long weekend.

There were people moving slowly
and other crushing up against them. There is the beating of hearts
against hearts. A rough fumbling of fingers around glasses.

There were fathers with limps. Mothers who tended. Streets full of children.

This was a Sunday. Before Monday.

There was prayer being spoken aloud, somewhere, down in the basement of the building,
in the cellar by the laundry room. There was an argument.

There were lips together and apart and together again,
finding each other, just a small space left for breath.

This was a Sunday, followed by a Monday.
This is life in ordinary time.

You live here; you plan;
you tick things off the list you keep on the refrigerator door
the things you meant to do.

1.Cut your hair
2.Fix the window
3.Leave for Paris
4.Try to come back

This is much different from the list you carry around in your wallet, battered and worn.
You don’t open that list, it tears at the creases but you know all 21 items by heart
and sometimes you change the order.

You tell the story.

This is the way it is and if we are lucky, this is the way it will always be.
And we will stand over the crib of tomorrow and say,
“Where have you been?”
This is Monday now, and it is as if Monday is what it has always been,
for days and days and days.

Distraction
It was nice to be back in the Grassroot.
We hadn’t been there in awhile,
not since before Paris
and the cafes, and the little dishes of peanuts.

It was just after five on a Sunday afternoon,
a day of walking the city behind us,

an evening of home cooked curry and a movie ahead of us.
I told you I was sorry for being distracted
and for mistaking other people’s joy for what I wanted.

I told you that I won’t do that anymore. That I will recognize
the good in my own life, the way it arches away from me
and comes back around again, like a sunrise or the way a good poem should.

I promise to not ruin it, to not to squeeze it to tight
demand things from it, shake it so hard in my fist
till it shatters and I cry about all the blood.

I tell you I just get distracted sometimes,
like a goldfish with no memory or a crow with something shiny.
You laugh.
But I mean it and in those times I think that my joy is empty joy
or that maybe I’m doing this whole life all wrong.

I tell you maybe if I had two lives, I could have it all.
You give me a side smile.

“But not anymore. You aren’t going to do that anymore,” you say with a nod.
You lift your drink to your mouth.
“Not any more,” I answer, staring out the door
to the flashing neon lights in the tattoo parlor.
It doesn’t look like April outside. It looks like September.
But then again, those two are the same, aren’t they?

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