A Known Fact
You could smell the day’s heat even before the day began. Constant trickle, endless green trees flanking the highway: summer had come back. Scattered trash on the apartment landing. Everyone passed by it. Everyone felt it belonged to someone else. Grey fog, blue sunlight, stones like big footprints in a wavering line across a lawn. Everyone was talking about a new song in relation to the old: the same volume but with no feeling. Standing on the porch just before the drizzle, fiercely missing my sister, how we used to take the bag of cut grass from the lawnmower and empty it over our bodies like rain. Days lost between the clock and my phone: I made coffee, I brushed the cat, I went to work, I knew the time it took to go from one room to another to collect my ironed shirt. I kept looking back to isolate individual moments, asking why didn’t I give myself more fully to that friend, that stranger, that drinking, those days. I remembered Kira and Chicago, leaving our apartment in the middle of the night, so hot even the moon looked hurt. I watched a chained dog strain at every passerby. I thought, it must be hard to have that much desire. Meanwhile, I’d gotten older. I’d grown accustomed to my body. I could sit with my shirt off on a hot day and not think about how my body looked or how I felt inside it. Cutting my hair the barber said, heat rises, that’s a known fact. I liked her phrasing. I walked forever. I was trying not to revise history to make my present life make sense. Raised voices; faded t-shirts left in boxes on the street. Such strange intimacies. The telephones ringing in the houses as I passed.
Copyright © 2019 Grady Chambers. This poem was originally published in Quarterly West. Used with permission of the author.