Fork with Two Tines Pushed Together
It's fast and cool as running water, the way we forget the names of friends with whom we talked and talked the long drives up and down the coast. I say I love and I love and I love. However, the window will not close. However, the hawk searches for its nest after a storm. However, the discarded nail longs to hide its nakedness inside the tire. Somewhere in Cleveland or Tempe, a pillow still smells like M_____'s hair. In a bus station, a child is staring at L____'s rabbit tattoo. I've bartered everything to keep from doing my soul's paperwork.
Here is a partial list of artifacts:
mirror, belt, half-finished 1040 form (married, filing jointly), mateless walkie-talkie, two blonde eyelashes, set of acrylic paints with all the red and yellow used up, buck knife, dog collar, camping tent (sleeps two), slivers of cut-up credit cards, ashtray in the shape of a naked woman, pen with teeth marks, bottom half of two-piece bathing suit, pill bottles containing unfinished courses of antibiotics, bank statements with the account number blacked out, maps of London, maps of Dubuque, sweatshirts with the mascots of colleges I didn't attend, flash cards for Spanish verbs (querer, perder, olvidar), Canadian pocket change, fork with two tines pushed together.
Forgetfulness means to be full of forgetting, like a glass overflowing with cool water, though I'd always thought of it as the empty pocket where the hand finds nothing: no keys, no ticket, no change. One night, riding the train home from the city, will I see a familiar face across from me? How many times will I ask Is it you? before I realize it's my own reflection in the window?
Copyright © 2011 by Nick Lantz. Used with permission of the author.
Nick Lantz is the author of How to Dance as the Roof Caves In (Graywolf Press, 2014). He teaches at Sam Houston State University and lives in Huntsville, Texas.
Date Published: 2011-12-19
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/fork-two-tines-pushed-together