The strawberries have gone bad. The milk
expired yesterday. In the back,
an orange with a sweater of green.
When did we become so careless?
And not just with the contents of our fridge,
but the dust animals hiding behind the doors
and beneath the bed, letting the garage
shed paint in thumb-sized flakes
for the whole neighborhood to see?
Look, where there once were flower gardens,
cornflower and hollyhocks with their scarlet ears —
they’ve grown weary of our conversations
about work crises and carry-out gratuities,
have vacated to more fertile climes,
leaving us with weeds and rogue red lettuce.
We promised each other a better life,
but lately it’s been nettles and mold.
We need to clean up our act —
run the vacuum over our bad habits.
Slap a fresh coat of paint on our lives.
Pull the stale out by the root.
Remember when it was all fresh and new —
we couldn’t keep our hands still! —
the kitchen counters gleamed
and the dinner table didn’t sag
beneath the weight of elbows?
Let us off to the hidden quarry
where the water is cool and quenching,
cleansing and deep. Then
you can slip out of your wrinkled skin,
my love, and I will slip out of mine.