A trip to the Berkshires. The family car.
Electronic message: Your door is ajar.
I slump in the driver’s seat, patience worn thin;
My wife tries to buckle our three-year-old in.
We drive through the village, wave to our friends;
Smile into smile this happiness blends.
The Thruway is silent. My wife rubs her eye.
Stick forests of saplings bounce greyishly by.
Another Jeep Cherokee, sparkling blue,
Is passing my window. Inside I can view
A couple in front, some children in back,
And all the way back is a Labrador, black.
I’m tempted to turn on the radio. No.
There’s been enough talk. Let it go.
Our life is a gift that’s been joyfully wrapped,
Our dialogue careful, our actions all mapped;
The question still dogs me: What’s making us tick?
This family bliss is a conjurer’s trick.
Look closely: It vanishes. All I can see
Is a dull orange sunset. I wish I could be
Surrounded by palm trees, a tropical breeze.
My daughter is whacking my wife on the knees.
“I can’t stand this tension.” This comes from my wife.
“You fight with my family. I’m tired of this life.”
It’s out on the table. There’s nothing to say.
Attempting to solve it won’t chase it away.
Another door shuts. I lower my speed.
The in-laws are waiting. Proceed.
– 10 January 2000