In the 9th Year of Marriage,
we’re considering the Big D, though we want to believe
in the Beatles and Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Life goes on Bra,
that the kids frolic in the backyard under a perfect dandelion day,
that Desmond and Molly paint each other faces, year
after year, despite abstinence, the usual grievances: failing to change
the toilet paper roll, leaving empty soda cans out,
and generally, being an asshole. That self-righteous glare
and name calling that makes Molly put down the blush
and wring Desmond’s neck. But, let’s be civil about this.
You’re not a jerk, most of the time. You’re like a young
Nelson Mandela, tragic and noble, looking out his cell window
at the sun rising over Table Mountain, unable to touch
the exotic fauna growing there…Now in record heat,
we journey at opposite ends of our caravan,
between us, a trail of strollers, DaVinci cribs, bouncy chairs,
breast pumps, lost jobs, and a big box of resentments, taped
twice over. When we stop for water, we sniff a familiar scent,
the sweet salt along the neck in July, in the back seat.
We cock our ears to an ancient buzzing, then decide it was
nothing and screw the lids on our canteens.
We need to get somewhere before sundown
with our children, emotionally and physically intact,
no time for acknowledgements. This makes us less than
strangers, but if we pretend to have never met,
then we might see a fellow soul, living among the cacti,
waving us down. We’d sit for awhile and share
our adventures from various deserts: the diamondback
and the areolas of the saguaro, how they bloom
white petals of silk that fold into luminous buds at night.
As the moon rises, we’d ask, “What is your name, again?”