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The Book of Denial


ISSUE:  Autumn 1994
Nothing has ever happened.
This is the dark place at which we begin and end.
Questions only smear the ink, stop
the presses, undo silence with words.

Obvious words stand out, rubbing their sounds together.
Questions throw open the window.
letting in light and a stray sparrow.
A bird flies at your face with its pointy beak.

A scared, frightened sparrow tries to escape.
You throw a blanket over your head,
open the window and hope for the best.
The questions fly away, look back at the story.

The bird was never really here.
In fact we aren’t here either and both of us
are too polite to mention father,
who inhales several thick martinis with olives.

And we do not sit in a dining room
darkening at sunset, eating bouillabaisse.
He does not smear half a stick of butter on bread, or slump
into his soup. His food doesn’t make a ring around the bowl.

To keep all this from happening
we think each other’s thoughts,
read each other’s minds, finish each other’s sentences
and lick each other’s plates.

We read our book alone in the dark before bed.
With blankets pulled over our heads,
a family that sticks together can safely say:
nothing has ever happened.

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