Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Listening Look

by Ann Staton

You ask me where I go, at times, while you are talking, even though I have not moved.
You call it my listening look.
Often enough, your words are more important than knowing how to dress for the weather,
more important than hearing the morning news, wondering what my parents will complain about
this time, 1800 miles away.

You are so close at times I feel your breath along my hairline, cheek, against my ear, but you
see, as my eyes drift, and you know I’ve briefly checked out, tuned into something
like which student will unnecessarily complain, miss a lecture, blame me for an “F”.
Because I silently, fearfully curse the swollen lymph nodes plaguing me the past months,
fearing I have something awful that will only compound our suddenly
odd situation, our dark age, it seems.

Or maybe how someone needs to set fire to the piece-of-crap fuse box in the garage below us,
that trips when I am blow drying my hair, landlords, too buddy-buddy, who blame us for tripped
circuits, hot water heaters, or air conditioning not adequately working,
garage doors that don’t quite close so any fucking transient, the ones that walk up and down the
street from the half-way house, some with electronic bands around their ankles, mumbling to
themselves or having full-blown conversations with the voices in their heads, or growling as they
limp past, can squeeze through, smoke crack, fuck all night.

I might be thinking, when I look away from your eyes to the blinds blocking that frustrated-
widow-wannabe-landlord whose wife died of cancer months before we moved in, insinuated
we hacked down our landlord’s cherished rose bush, breaking her heart, of our children, my
horrible act of missing them. Then, again, it could be my mother who can’t
hear well, and my father who can only  communicate with people who are not his children.
We all have our own fucked-up legacies of love and problems.
That could be the listening look you see, or hot cold souls
of artifice too artfully existing.

Oh, my dearest darling, it has nothing to do with how much I love and adore you.
You are this life’s most wonderful, most easy part.

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