When she argues in absolutes,
there’s no defense.
You never ... I always ...
(she declaims in perfect pitch)
... vacuum rugs upstairs.
... lock the sliding door.
... sing a song on key.
I confess I’m tonally inept
and prone to chronic laziness.
I’d rather watch the sun unfurl
behind our evergreens
than lug the Kirby up the stairs,
unwind its twisted chord, and miss
the smatterings of crumbs and lint
she always finds.
As for the sliding door,
chalk it up to trust in Providence
and patio debris I’ve scattered
as a trap. Any thief who’d plow
through rakes, hoes, and piles
of leaves deserves a chance.
Since there’s no gain in wasting breath
nor expiration date on being wrong,
I’ve mastered shutting up and dreaming
of the rainy night she cannot find her
keys and kettledrums each bolted door,
while high above the vacuum’s hum,
I’m belting out her favorite songs
from the second floor.
(Previously published in Persimmon Tree, 2014.)
From English teacher to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and perfect summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK including “Stirring,” “CALYX,” “Persimmon Tree,” “How Higher Education Feels,” and “Antiphon.” Her third collection, Thin Places, is slated for release by Aldrich Press in Fall 2017. Since the only poem she wrote in high school was red-penciled “extremely maudlin,” Carolyn is still amazed she has continued to write.