Dark green carpet that I remember
Dad installing on his hands
and knees
with his tools and his best friend
on his hands and knees
measuring corners and lengths
while my best friend taught me to do somersaults
and I loved the word
I spelled it in my head the way I wanted to
using words I already knew, summer then salt
and it took me a while to believe that the word even
existed.  You see, I thought, in the middle of orange pulled-up
carpet and dark green new stuff half laid down,
that I knew every word there was to know

And there was a painting on the living room wall
Pap says Nana loved it that’s all he ever said
while it hung above the green carpet
When the living room turned green
the painting was a gift from Nana
with large pine trees leading back to a small
house in the field in the distance
In the foreground was a giant rock,
marking the path through the trees

But then Nana died and our family moved
and the painting is now in a room
with white walls and plush blue carpeting
and Pap still says how much she loved it

And so, you see,
Now I can’t do that
because now I think the rock is actually
a large piece of wood
and that the walls need to be green
for the painting to be held up

 

As a kid, when I’d sleep over my friend’s house
we’d talk and listen to the radio
all night and in the morning we’d be still
because there was this window that faced
the sun in the morning
and my friend loved to sit and look out
because she said no matter what
that red house was still always across the street
and the green tree was always in the yard
and I don’t believe her because
I used to sit and look at that
painting and wonder what it would
be like to be behind that rock
peeking just barely
from behind to see the
people standing in my green living room
looking at me

 

So, now, in the middle of the night
when the radio DJ
finally sets aside his coffee and puts down his
cigarette long enough to let me know he hasn’t
left the building yet
I think his voice
is rough, like me
It is a rough voice because
he hasn’t heard it for a while
and neither have I
and it is new then, too,
Just like I feel

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