POEM XXIX: “OBJECT PERMANENCE”

To a man,
a relationship is like a still life.
When he comes back to it,
after ten minutes
or ten years,
the orange will still be in the bowl.
The knife next to the board.
After all, he left it there.
There is no reason for anything to have changed.

For a woman, though, the relationship keeps right on going
chugging along
without need of his presence
or input.

The orange is sliced up for a child
the knife dulled and sharpened and dulled again,
the board scrubbed innumerable times with salt.

When he comes back, he will not notice that the orange is not the same orange.
And the woman is not the same woman.

“Your knife is dull,” he tells her.

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