Let’s say your marriage was failing. And in an attempt
to stitch together what you could
you rose early, even before the cat (still warm
as a bagel on the bed),
and you showered but didn’t wash your hair;
you dressed, applied winged eyeliner with the skill of a surgeon.
Skipped coffee though you wanted some,
left the house
(your husband just rousing)
and made a right at the first traffic light.
Let’s also say you bought the rack of lamb
(it was out of your budget)
and you spent 30 good minutes
piecing together the night’s menu.
(You even found mint jelly though you had to make
a trip to a second grocery store.)
You cleaned the kitchen. You prepped.
Your mise en place
was as perfect as only you could perfect it.
Let’s say the living room was tidy and you found the pillar
candles (unceremoniously stuffed
in the second drawer of the buffet)
and you retrieved the lighter
from the mantle and everything was just right,
and your hair appointment was at 4
so you left at 3:30, arrived 15 minutes early,
and the stylist seated you anyway
and you warmly chatted while you were in the chair,
and she told you of her kids and her husband,
and oh by the way how is yours?
and you lied and said great!
and suddenly the room was an ocean and you
were a small island buoyed by your own relentless will.
And when she was done she turned you to the mirror and you saw
a lighthouse, a lighthouse! The astounding heat emanating
from the face of your Fresnel lens, the acetylene roiling
below. All of the sea searching your radiance,
and such was your rapture that at first as you walked outside
you didn’t even notice
the trees bent in agony, the Pomeranian flying through the sky,
leash trailing like a balloon string.
The world undone in one gust!
And so lucky were you to have made it safely to your car,
(the rocking just now slowing)
that you rested your forehead against the steering wheel.
Then looked in the mirror,
your beautiful hair now seaweed beached on the shore.
So you sit.
Put the car in reverse.
Head home.
Eyeliner streaking from the lamps of your eyes.