Updated Apr, 10th 2013
(Imitation poem, after Jesse Manley's "The Elements of Solid Relationships")
Mom is garlic:
best in small doses.
Francisco is paprika:
more concerned with color than with flavor.
Dad is butter:
the kind that sits in a tub
and won't move until you scoop him out.
Natalia is mint:
the scent of her makes you feel clean and whole and good.
Me, I'm basil:
I mix well with others
but not all at once.
If You Ask Me and I Say 'I Do.'
We'll both want a wedding in the summer.
You'll say 'So there can be fireflies'
and I'll say 'Under the Milky Way'
but we'll both mean 'The great outdoors is free.'
We won't mind so much
being the only married couple in college
because it makes us Different
and Different looks good
on application essays.
It will take longer than we thought
for us to get used to sharing one hundred square feet
of dirty laundry that never gets done
and dishes that pile up like cars on icy Minnesota roads.
I won't exactly drop out in March,
I'll just postpone -
because I can wait longer for a music major
than the landlord can wait for our rent.
In April, the measuring tape will run out of notches
before we can find the distance between us
sitting side by side on a sofa
watching something on Hulu
because that will be easier than fighting
about whose turn it was to vacuum.
By June, our muscles will have memorized
the following choreography for an agreeable night:
You'll kiss me on the forehead
before turning out the light and
it will be an hour before I stop counting the
glow-in-the-dark stars we taped to the ceiling.
I'll fall asleep wondering why
we keep using strips of masking tape
to put together the pieces of broken porcelain
scattered over our hardwood floor.
People say that dead grandmothers spend most of their time
disapproving of how often their posterity masturbates
or keep spiral-bound notebooks filled with accurate records
of each lie they say and which shade of white,
but all I've done is stand here in the kitchen
watching you watch water boil.
You do it quietly and intensely,
like a puma whose paws touch the ground without making a sound
as she follows her dinner through the dark.
You wait and you wear your silence like a fur coat, heavy and hot and
sure of itself. Maybe you're listening to the heartsong of each pocket of air
as it bursts open on the surface of the water. Or maybe
you're reading secrets written on the ribbons of rising steam.
I hope you don't mind me watching you,
waiting here a bit longer in case your silence bubbles over into song
and I know what you're looking for at the bottom of the pot.