Before the Gorge
Oh swollen refuge, stuffed safety, find me with the wrappers in my lap. Find me still in the parking lot. Bless the beans and bless the beef. I cannot afford the chicken. Bless the crispy and bless the soft. May this not be last night’s meat. May I not find any bones. May the freeze machine be singing. My enemies are not anxious enough. They stop when they are full. Whatever eats at them —everything unsaid in a marriage, fragile like employment, like the ecosystem— nibbles. I bite big because it all consumes me. I am not married to my enemy. I am not married to my enemy. But she knows which locks are old. Which doors give. Ants scatter the bedroom. Weeds mock the grass. Meals wait on a calendar. Our words have bones in them. I know what is lost in divorce— tax deductions, charging chords— but what cannot be? Guilt? Shame? A sense of burrowing even further into a malformed loneliness, growing odder and uglier and more addicted each day to a new leather glider? Oh greasy ballast, tangy center, you alone can settle me down, If I have to drive my shit away from our home—the home we purchased together—I will need twice this much to keep from tumbling into the atmosphere. Stay warm in your paper. Sour cream, zing. Lettuce, crunch. I will not chew thoughtfully. I will scoop with my fingers what falls. I never know whether all this worry, this maybe what if will pull me into its orbit. Or I know it will, but when and where and how far will I be from you, warm paper, red sauce. Light over my dome light, I will cram what I can, tortillas, tomatoes, beans, beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, help me land.
TJ Fuller writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. His writing has appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Juked, and elsewhere. He can be found online @fullertj.