FALL 2013 (Issue 80)

Ashley Seitz Kramer

Rocky River Unyielding

When I open certain dreams they open me and leave
their melodies behind like buckshot: careful, careful 
my grandmother sings while she stares down cancer and me, dancing 
around the laundry pile mating all the black socks. It’s impossible
not to feel betrayed by the little time left. Less and less.
Driving home I passed a boy on a bike on a bridge. 
It was an old bridge, a young boy, a red bike. Autumn 
was stretching out like he did that very morning in his own 
soft bed. How can I explain? I stopped in evening 
traffic and he moved beyond me and above the water and toward 
a future and he refused to share it, but I never blamed him. 
I loved the music of his leisurely pedaling. His unbrushed hair 
was only his own but he didn’t know how much this was true. 
You already know how the wind carried him as it carried me 
but whom do I salute now that I am sore and sighing? Does anyone 
comfort anyone else as we pay on swelling debt? The children 
I might have had are somersaulting across the backyards 
of the city’s ugliest houses and the river has exchanged its faithful tributary 
for a new one. My friend the painter reminds me that everything 
is a cycle: add a color to another color and another color comes. 
I’m trying to savor every hue, like butter melting into yesterday’s bread, 
but what can I expect from myself or my allies full of grace 
for the people who bag their groceries? Don’t crush the eggs. 
Don’t crush the raspberries. In light of the many and simple laws
of physics, how can we call each other any closer?