Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Bar Code of Love

I brandished the wand & pushed
scanner buttons with both thumbs,
but nothing happened.

I osterized & registered the symbols
of our union, & it wasn't a harbinger,
but, my love, I couldn't erase anything—

not the cast-iron griddle, too heavy to lift;
not the lovesick goblets bent at the waist
as if they performed some important task

other than holding household liquids.
In the next-stop mattress outlet, you pressed
every quilted pillowtop, then suggested we lie

with our shoes still on to check filling
& resilience, skin when we slid each slick
blue surface converging—chrome flush

that spread my chest like a walnut, as if
we hadn't already been living in sin for years,
that bed of pictures (dirty? family?),

a future tucked into your wallet, spilling
folded laminates that accordion out like
shrugged hands. What's in the center

of your palm besides one ring & a lifeline
dug into your skin with a grapefruit spoon?
My heart is a domed cakeplate,

nested glass bubble. Sweet
Something of Mine—before they say
sanctify, let's skip town, hock

the registry gifts for cash, jettison
the material outline of a life which
reduces everything to crime-scene

chalk dust, to streamlined stories
with deceptively simple arcs: a blender,
a stand mixer, service for twelve with matched

open stock vegetable platter. We are a seven-
walled restaurant tangled in an Alphabet City
snapshot, broken plate at our feet. I can't

remember who tossed it, but if you
dig in my coat pocket you'll find
encrypted desire of lint & matchbooks,

free signs in this lush & burgeoning
world of someone's love for us aching
to be tested—that floor-model mattress

before we slipped from the store
empty-handed, your body dashing

& suspended
next to mine.

Copyright © 2006 Erika Meitner All rights reserved
from Crab Orchard Review

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