It couldn’t have been a song,
a somewhat obscure tune
with a low randomness
for creeping up on a station
and reminding me of you.
No, it ended up being some
daily task, some unavoidable
thing that would never let me
go: the simple act of ironing.
Being in the Air Force you
were more obsessed with
nicely pressed uniforms
than even the army was.
Volunteering, you gladly
pressed my camouflage shirt
as I mused on your blonde
sweetness, your feigned
blue-eyed innocence. I was
enraptured. God, it’s just
impossible to get rid of
a wrinkle once you iron it in,
you huffed, with a smile
that would melt me down.
And now, these years later,
believe me, I’m well aware.
This bucket of you
You’re a gradual something missing
and un-sudden, subtle in your own
ghosting manner of:
maybe I’ll see you later. Or not.
It’s hard to say, isn’t it? We’ll see.
You were lightly excusing yourself
from the noise I’d become, weren’t you?
Fleeing this relentless distraction I’d invented
and branded as your bothersome memory,
drip, drip, and dripping away,
over-spilling with each ripple along
the delicate edge of my running over,
rolling off my skin and soaking everything
in a fine lovely poison I learned to lap up
in my dreams and mistake for love.
I could feel you, instant by instant,
filling up a portion of me with every
fucking drop, heavier, a burdening mix
of tears and sweat,
something cumulative and anchoring,
trailed behind me in pools I hoped
you’d never track me with.
The last time I saw your face it rippled
and unfocused through watering eyes
I could not contain. I felt no manly
hesitancy for revealing – there in daylight
at the barracks smoke pit in Monterey,
forgotten cigarette dying in hand –
that my heart was cracking and permanently
emptying of you, your lingering still fresh
in my mouth from a last, deep, stubborn
nearly forgotten kiss. I think I knew
this tear-flavored kiss would never
die, some masochistic invitation, that
I’d be cursed by what you left behind,
my body and mind giving up for a time,
heart mud-caked and discarded for years
along the too comfortable river bank
of your dangerous, unrelenting memory.
Upon a Valentine’s Day which
landed on a Saturday for once.
He works all week in the love-hate career
that keeps them physically from each other,
living for Friday afternoons, the two-hour
detoxifying drive to her embrace, leaving
a stretch of resentment, finally dissipated
by the time he meets her company where
he can breathe again, having held his breath
since pressing a soft kiss to her drowsy lips
at half past 5 am every Monday morning.
8 years it’s been this past October, with
this May their 4 year wedding anniversary.
How do you do it, people ask, amazed.
Maybe that’s why you all get along so well,
others venture. We do it because we have to.
And no, it’s not why we get along, I think.
I don’t think the world is ready for us to live
together all the time quite yet. Just look
what we’ve done with what we have.
How would the world ever handle the love,
this endless shine of happiness and trust,
we would vibrate out into the Universe?
Why would we choose to put some distant
beings through the frustration of solving
such a mysterious resulting supernova flash
when it finally reached them millions of years
from the day when I finally live with you?
Is the world prepared for the threat of such love?
Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist from Tennessee. His poetry can be found in journals and magazines such as The Still Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, and Appalachian Heritage. He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train. He is presently taking his MFA in poetry and fiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College.