Monday, July 18, 2016

The Slack-Jawed Night

A poem by Daniel A. Olivas

The slack-jawed night
sits motionless in
my sorrel leather
chair, not knowing
where he is.

He looks up,
with a jerk of
his head, just
as I move
towards him.

Eyes narrow,
the light bulb
flicks on.

“Ah!” he says.
“Ah, yes!”

I stop short, and
slowly (ever so slowly)
I move back (with a
slight twinge in my
lumbar) and return
to the long, green

“Ah!” night repeats.
“I am here again!”

“Yes,” I answer,
settling into place
and yawning just
a bit.  “You are here,
again,” I reassure.

Night rubs his rough
chin (he needs a shave,
I believe), and smiles.

“I am better than
nothing,” he murmurs,
locking his black,
gleaming eyes on mine.
I force my face
away, to the dusty
crystal sitting unused,
sealed in the mahogany
cabinet that was a wedding
gift almost fifty years ago.
From whom?  I don’t
remember.  But if Lois
were still here,
keeping track of our
lives, she’d know.
She’d know.

“Better than nothing,
eh?” repeats night.

I do not answer.

Night leans forward
(jaw slack no longer, but
now jutting out at me),
fingers intertwined,
brow knitted with
thought.  “I am here
for you, now,” night
finally says.

I turn and meet his
gaze and nod.

“Yes,” I answer
as I rub my eyes.
“You are here,
for me.” 

("The Slack-Jawed Night" first appeared in TMP Irregular.) 

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