The Arrival







The poem arrives like an unexpected guest who rings the bell as you’re sliding into cool sheets, who crosses the threshold into your dark, narrow entryway as you begin to open the door, forcing you to step back as she speaks loudly, announcing she needs a place to crash overnight or possible for a few days and hopes you won’t mind that she’s a bit of an insomniac.

Like a shy child, the poem stands on your doorstep, confused and scared on a bitter cold night. You know her from the neighborhood and invite her to come in. When she slowly begins to speak, you cannot make out her words and gently ask her to repeat herself. She tries but you still cannot decipher her syllables. You offer her a mug of hot chocolate, trying to be patient and just listen, trying not to ask too many questions, knowing if you do, she might slip out the door the minute you leave the room.

Is that a line from a song? The poem arrives as you try to catch it from the air. You repeat the line as it flits by. Was that it? Or was it…? You jot the words down on a grocery list after bread and olive oil. The poem arrives before beets, potatoes, fish.    

The poem arrives like invisible ink that can only be read by the light of a full moon in the month of June when warmed by a white candlestick, ink that can only be written after dipping a thin paint brush in magic potion made by your best friend in her mother’s attic one block away as you both clutch walkie-talkies to your ears so that she can listen to the Beetles so you play “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and she gets the potion just right, sounding slightly drunk as she tells you to sneak out of your bedroom window once your parents go to bed.

Like a ghost with Alzheimer’s who awakens you from a dream, the poem announces there‘s a hit on you and calls you by the wrong name.

The poem arrives like a demanding yet generous lover, smiling as she hands you her glass, refusing no for an answer as she bites your bottom lip, kisses you again and then just stands there holding you long after the record ends and the needle keeps hitting up against the final thick black groove’s innermost wall.