Call When You Get In
Jai alai ball sized hail slams
against the tattered sheet in the hall,
making a sound somewhere between
eyelids and shoulders
sopping up blood from the stairs.
Perhaps if the door weren’t open
and the windows weren’t smashed,
tangerines might have survived zealous
relocation among the emotions and books
inside my overnight bag. Conditions
change like the colder autumns of childhood,
killing the grass still green between the sidewalks.
Misunderstood calls for help were actually
offers to intercept self-actualizing destruction
through back-channel negotiations
hosted by coping mechanisms
everyone but me was born with, or at least
rented from their therapists.
Funny, I thought enlightenment meant
understanding the hokey-pokey,
captured in shaky revolutions
known to picket wedding dance floors,
immortalized in the dusty videos
neglected once the first anniversary
gifts are exchanged with freezer-burned cake.
Still images are the only calm
cast on the hallway walls,
half covered in bemused shame
made into shadow puppets
illuminated by the lone light bulb, reflecting
demons committed to escaping
the eager note on my door.
by James Patrick Schmidt