You can’t, always
I’m not going to cry. All winter the television
sulks in the corner of our love. You put the lentils
in a colander to flush the ugly bits. You peel oranges
to their pith and talk about your past like it was mine too.
You say it was sunnier in Queens than it could ever be in
an unhappy kitchen with a lover made of feathers.
I want to tell you about the way a man can look down
a corridor, the way a hunter visits his scope. There are things
too big to ever fold into your hands. A barbule is enough
to demonstrate how even soft things fall down,
like small people from towers that trade in shadows.
When I say I need you, it clambers up a stairwell in my throat
like you were the only window left in 110 levels of pain.
I’m not going to say I get it. You toss the lentils
in a brine pot and power-up the television.
You say we spend too much of life watching
the kind of comedies that make you sad. Like Home Improvement
and The Cosby Show that make you think of time
and the way we were happy in Queens
before small people sat on window ledges, before
the hunter’s scope settled on an ordinary bird.
I’m not going to cry. All morning chopping onions,
watching Bill Cosby hug his wife in Brooklyn Heights
before he was a rapist, and before you first registered
towers on the skyline by their absence.
When I say I need you I am a soft thing falling
on something familiar, and it is violence
in the way dispassionate surgery is violence
or the way The Cosby Show is what you get
before you get what you never wanted.
I’ll take what I can.
Auckland writer, Elizabeth Morton, is published in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA. She was feature poet in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017, and is included in Best Small Fictions 2016. Her first poetry collection, Wolf, was published with Mākaro Press in 2017. She is completing a MLitt at the University of Glasgow, usually in her pyjamas.