What the Living Do
Dedicated to Marie Howe
A third winter wind hitting our faces, walking home
from Ashland Corner Store.
Camels, a dozen eggs, a bottle of Jameson
for the week. Struggling for the door because
no one has keys on hand.
A pot of coffee gets made by either of us, but we're
out of the good beans.
Hair on the bathroom sink, in the drain
pulled from a resistant hairbrush.
I hear a goddammit and go to the kitchen
to find an egg is cracked, another
losing its yolk.
I say it's no big deal, but you insist on
getting a new dozen.
we retrieve the receipt, because it's what
the living do.
You leave with it.
I call a friend to pass the time.
He chats about nothing for an eternity,
I endlessly sputter a-huh's and oh-wow's
I listen and don't hang up. I will probably still
the following day.
I collect the hair and dispose it
but it keeps falling out.
I examine my own head in disbelief
that anything is left.
The clock ticks and it slows down my moves
I pick the hangnails, wondering how far
you are on your trip back
from the shitty store. I wait and wonder
what these empty minutes mean.
Your return is imminent, but it feels like an
eternity since you left.
I doubt whether you
were ever really here.
I am living, I remember you.
Adriana Yochelson is a writer from the San Fernando Valley. She currently resides in Chicago and works in publishing.