by Cecil Morris

At home I make myself a seismograph
attuned to his step on stairs, the way air
shifts and settles as he enters our home.
I make dinner he expects, vegetables
limp as his mother made, meat medium,
beer cold. I keep laundry out of sight, my
books hid. I make myself a hologram,
a pool of clear water, a moving stream.

When I’m at work, I don’t think about him,
the phone and files, the meetings make a wall
that blocks him like a chore repeated so often
it’s mindless, automatic—like did I
already brush my teeth—and so for hours
I forget him, forget even when Gracie
asks about the new bruise that has floated
up my arm like a dark shell, like driftwood.

Later, humming out on BART and the bus,
I think of him dead, of his bike sandwiched
between cars and his neck snapped at impact,
of accident on the press and his body
mangled, crushed, a smear of blood and anger,
his spirit oil slick on steel and cement.
I imagine the bar fight where he meets
one harder and more hateful than himself.

Cecil Morris taught high school English for 37 years.  Now he tries writing what he once taught students to understand and (maybe) enjoy.  He has poems appearing in English Journal, Evening Street Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Hole in the Head Review, Midwest Quarterly, Poem, Talking River Review, and other literary magazines.  He likes a long walk at dawn or dusk, and he gives thanks for his indulgent partner, the mother of their children.