I’m writing this from Jeff’s Lazy-boy sofa. The cracks in the brown leather makes it look like an artifact from Constantinople, untouched by human hands for thousands of years. It’s almost as if he sculpted a casing of his bum’s shape in an impulsive moment of creation, like dentists do when molding impressions for night guards. The absence his real bum feels, exquisite, in a way — kind of makes me want to jump up and down on it. But I’m not going to vacuum the petrified mango chips in the pull-out bed unit. I’m not.

There are days where all I do is wait for you. Your silence. Is that the answer? When I read your preface to “How to Share the Skies,” I imagined you floating between Triangulum Australe (my favorite constellation), calling from the space station with your lyrics in progress: ‘But I’m already here. Like a translucent leaf. Half lit by sun.’

Remember that poem I wrote in Ohio during the private coaching hour? ‘Flowers in Winter’? It’s like that. Not Jeff’s elliptical in the dining room. No. It’s what he calls the swear word. The word that is not okay to talk about in our house. S-Oo-U-L. This makes me feel like a kindergartener again, always trying to hide my incompetence. Like what Oprah said in the summer issue of her magazine about how carnations are bogus. “This I know for sure,” she wrote. “Living a lie is a dangerous thing, like the dentist who loves veterinary science and resents himself for it, while sealing the tooth of fifteen year old kid in khaki shorts and flip flops.” When I’m at my dentist, I think about eggshells in the garbage disposal. Slipping my hand inside. Running from the sink. Facet left on hot. Blood on the white IKEA rug.

Sometimes, I give this wheelchair bound homeless woman a quarter, hoping she will reveal herself as an angel, instantly leaping out of her chair in humble service. My life has left me, I will say. And she’ll tell me exactly how to call it home — what train to catch, the best luggage shop in town, which socks to buy. The blue. It’s more likely she’ll just ask for more money while ranting on about the Vietnam War or past lives. She believes pain is inherited from generation to generation and that she was born at the beginning of time as a single celled animal. I can’t distinguish if this woman’s story is worthy of an e-mail to Oprah or not. Or if this will move beyond your agent’s spam filter. There is nothing I know for sure.

Gregory Josselyn

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