Clutching the Ceiling
Your lawyer suggested I find a bar,
and spend days in the fog.
I stumbled, off-
balance, from his office, imagined a tomorrow
in which I would hand over my keys
and the scent of her room.
I couldn’t fathom the elevator
so I echoed my way down the stairs—
I found myself unable to turn,
to continue down. I shut my eyes
and walked through a 30 painted on the wall,
through inches of concrete, insulation, wiring—
through a steel girder and a family of rats—
out into city air.
I briefly remembered I’d left
my wallet in our daughter’s room,
as I plummeted through smog
and 30 stories of gravity.
I caught my reflection in the passing windows,
and wondered if it was all right to fall asleep here.
On the ground, near the cave’s entrance,
a dead bat, spotted white with fungus,
clutched it to my chest, curling myself
as far into myself as possible—
how I felt the first time I met her.
She knew only to shut her eyes,
flex her slender hands, listen
for the sound of her own voice.
Your Evening Commute
In the midst of your global warming talk
the fog rolled in, the air dampened, a sheen
on all the fixtures in our living room.
I was doing my best to ignore you, reading the headlines
that concern us most: Paris Hilton’s venereal diseases,
the rapists in Forney. Words on the other side of the page
bled through the photo of that undernourished face.
The page dissolved; only Paris and the reversed text
remained, floating between my hands. I turned
from the cloud of gibberish, found the remote
in the mist, and pointed it to where
I remembered the TV lies. Instead of the eight o’clock
forecast, a few sparks in the distance,
a television drowning in the watery air. Then the deluge.
You had shifted from carbon dioxide to vast
islands of plastic that float unchecked
through the oceans.
Thunder called from near the garage.
The ceiling fan wilted, its blades overtaxed,
sagged almost to the floor. We upended the couch
for shelter so we could hang our clothes to dry,
but it wasn’t until naked that you seemed to realize
that glaciers had sped across continents
to fall on your grandfather’s old rocker,
on our favorite couch:
the one with the two depressions in it,
so close that they might be making love.
I ogled your wet breasts until, giggling,
you took me by the hand, led me into the downpour,
splashed me with water from the fireplace.
We wake into our empty, now unfamiliar home.
Where is the stomp of the child?
The feral human, her instinct?
The living room smaller this morning, the furniture
sprouting wooden and plastic roots into the carpet,
collecting itself against relocation,
the ceiling slightly lower, I notice, the light fixtures
at eye level. Once we could maneuver through
the kitchen, frying the last of your eggs,
now your brush against my arm is as invasive as
the grease burns on my wrists. This was a house
when we bought it, but bricks and glass
continue to fold off into the neighbors’ yards,
yesterday, the dank TV nook—
this weekend, the third of the living
room where you like to read.
For the first time in years, we’ll crumple onto the bed
together in a heap because we’ll lack the room to roll
without hitting the walls, enclosed like two
stacked loads of laundry. In a month we’ll wake into this
telephone booth without the space to spread our arms
or parrot each other’s speech.
They’ve moved me into a bigger office at work.
I have a view of the park as it dissipates, becomes
more street, loses its grasp on a girl and a dog
playing with the corpses of birds.
Ed O’Casey received his MA from the University of North Texas. He loves all things narcissistic, and lives with his unruly wife and daughter. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Cold Mountain Review, Tulane Review, Oak Bend Review, Euphony, Mayo Review, Poetry Quarterly, NANO Fiction, and West Trade Review. He is currently an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University.