I knew the situation had grown dire when Elvis vanished
in a pile of white fluff and I raced through the neighborhood
shouting for him to get back in the house.
Crazy Mr. Bennett actually came over thinking we were housing
that hip shaking fiend, and I had to explain how I let you
name our dog after a Costello (not a Presley)
because names are important to you; you’ve always been weighed down
by the irony of being an Atheist named Christian.
We’ve let the snow from four or five storms pool in our driveway.
Domesticity isn’t quite our forte. Our gutters are packed with leaves,
and distended by icicles but we’re both afraid
of heights and we don’t own a ladder. I’m carving a path for mail carriers
and school children when you emerge from the warmth within
teasing that I shouldn’t be doing a man’s job.
The playful jibe at my feminist sensibilities as tired as the
hydrangeas I forgot to water back when our
little life was new and exciting, the magical mystery
before we settled into routines, working my insomnia
around your strict ten o’clock bedtime. Before, when there were little
quirks and surprises to discover:
a pair of glasses you never wear, an old baseball trophy.
Elvis howls at the door, enraged to be left inside, left out.
You stay in the cold while I shovel ancient snow and we laugh
about silly things, not work or school or electricity bills. Here on the
frozen tundra, we’re snapshots of our true selves
removed from grown-up demands.
We’re improv professionals, looking for stars in champagne bubbles.
Skilled in the ways of fictions, we compose truths. But we
grew complacent, buried under the weight of weathered storms.
Elvis whines until we retreat indoors, an old home made new.