Saturday, April 12, 2008

Finally. A poem.

Poem in Which My Husband Slams My Fingers in the Car Door

and Then We Attend a Baseball Game

Why on a Saturday when the sun shines do we sit in the shade?
Such are the vagaries of buying baseball tickets as the game starts,
families straggling and crying, children not surrendering their dreams
of new hats and pink ice cream, instead crying and pleading and screaming,
waiting for their parents to give in. But first, I screamed.
I didn’t scream because I was angry or frustrated or mad,
the normal reasons for screaming, at least in my universe.
No. I was merely getting into the minivan, not mine, of course,
but my father’s. My hand was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The news took a second, maybe two, to travel to my brain.
And then I screamed. I screamed so loud that later the neighbor
asked my husband if I was okay. Yes, he said. I closed her hand
in the car door. Don’t worry, I said, my hand throbbing. It’s only
my right hand. I won’t need it for anything, thinking of the writing,
and all the grading that needs to get done in the next two weeks, and
the novel or the stories that might not get written after that, not to mention
that I won’t be able to shovel out our backyard for our new patio
because my hand will be bruised and purple and lame. But I’m fine.
I took some Advil, iced my hand and, upon arrival at the baseball game,
had a beer. Then we shivered in the shade, watching batters, left-handed
and right. We discuss mirror images and backwards writing and how, when
learning to read, a word can be a sound or a picture. For me it was a picture,
which was how I could tell a Gris from a Picasso. Or whatever. That’s just
an example. When I’m not thinking about how cold I am, I’m asking
questions about what makes a .485 batting average what it is, and also,
to tell the truth, I’m thinking about the damage bats can do, and I’m
checking out the women in my section to see if they are my age,
or younger, and which babies are cute or fat or both. My son’s tongue
is red and he looks like an alien, which is what he is, most of the time,
a creature that doesn’t know what it wants and rarely understands English.
But now, as I’ve figured out, my hand is not crippled, in fact it’s fine, under
the influence of Advil, and baked potatoes, mushrooms and wine.
I can’t tell my husband, of course, because then where would I be?
I have to pretend to suffer, and in pretending, I do suffer, because
acting is being. I know that much. But the key is in convincing him
that I suffer, which doesn’t take much, believe me. Hey, my fingers hurt,
they’re swelling, look? Pass the wine.


Lisa B. said...

This poem is awesome. It is ultra. It is ultra-talk, to use the D. Kirby (my boyfriend) phrase. No wonder you're not writing poems--you're too busy getting (a) maimed, and (b) writing really really long poems!

I loved this.

Nik said...

Super fine poem. One of my faves.

ErinAlice said...

I like it. Perhaps you should be injured more often. Not that you need to be creative but I guess anything helps right?? Besides getting sympathy from the husband never hurts. Great poem.

Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Oh, that happened to me once. But I actually had to get a sprained finger splinted, which is much better for sympathy. :-)