Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poem of the day 11.19.08

overhead light

he’d let it go since august.
the super kept promising to come
and fix the overhead light
which we badgered him
and the landlord about whenever
one of us nearly broke a toe
on the metal edges of our bed
and remembered
that we had no overhead light
and it was mid-november now
and cold finally
and he came in smelling of coffee and smoke
with his ladder and the new light fixture
while we were having a scotch after dinner
and he apologized and told us
about how he’d taken a pipe
to the head at his construction
job just two days ago
and hadn’t been feeling well.
i never feel well, so i understood
to an extent,
although i couldn’t draw real parallels
between a pipe to the head this week
and nearly three months of darkness
for my wife and i
but i’m game for a lot of excuses.
and in his defense, he did get right to it,
moved the bed away and everything
exposing the year’s worth
of dust and tissue and lost socks
and cat hairs and cat vomit
and wine corks that we’d somehow
forgot in our rare cleanings.
it only took about fifteen minutes
and we had light again
electric mass bright enough
to illuminate the whole damned neighborhood
and he said from our bedroom,
john i got it done for you,
so i came in to check it out
because i guessed that’s what you do
when someone does the basics of
apartment maintenance for you.
and i said it looked great
then he and i looked down at all
the dust and dirt where the bed used to be
and he said, i’m sorry i had to move your bed
and i said,
i’m sorry you had to see what was under there
and we laughed
and he said, yeah my place would
be just as bad
if i’d let the wife go to work.
she has an economics masters degree, you know,
from europe,
but i told her, no, you stay home and raise the kids,
and i’m an idiot because here i am now
twenty years later
working three jobs to support us
when we could’ve had something in
this world, you know, like a home, he said.
so i said i knew what he meant
as we headed toward the door,
and after i let him out
i poured my wife and i two new scotches
and we went into the bedroom
and turned the new light fixture off and on
like two kids playing a game
while their parents were out for the night, laughing,
and letting the booze ease another small drama
that had reached its end.

No comments: