Thursday, October 23, 2003

Once upon a time I drove two hours with silence
to a little town in Illinois. I wanted it to be dramatic
with someone screaming in our faces on the walk to the door
but it was just a little strip mall parking lot,
though there was a car across the way
with pictures in shades of red and signs
with lots of exlamation points.
The woman behind the wheel didn't even look up
from her book as we went inside.

Waiting room magazines, muzak, and linguistics homework
keep me company until the nurse tells me I can go back
where silence is looking raw at the ceiling of a pastel room.
The nurse looks at me as she leaves and I want to tell her
it wasn't mine, that I'm the friend, the good man, the driver.
That the boyfriend is off not dealing in St. Louis.
But silence is looking at me now and I can't say a word,
except in my head, where I repeat that I'm the Good Man.

The tires hum grayly against the road the whole way home
and she is curled up against the far side of the car
under a blanket and my coat, eyes closed. Two hours
later I wake her up and take her inside, then go back home
next door to stare at the ceiling and hope that some day
she'll write a poem about today so I can know what she was thinking.

If she does, I never see it.

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