The Space You Left
I never knew if you mowed in a way to intimidate me
Always the same
Doing it backwards, so you had to stand in the flower bed
With the petals like sheets twisted up and away from your figure
Looking out in secret to see if I’d lost interest
My low chaos cut vertically, the chaos that’s left turned into reeds or papyrus
for tiny intrigues, undisguised and ridiculous
The path you were accustomed to tread
To make quick exits, never following the line of the land itself
Disappeared as monotony spread.
I Can’t Measure
I can’t measure
Everything you bring me
No matter how much burden
Seems to weigh on your soul
Your soul may be growing
Are a mystery worth considering
But its boundary
Is not self-repeating
In fact, the only true measure I can give it
Is absolute value
Which is infinite
You could never pile things properly
You clothing was scattered like it knew
You wouldn’t return to the same location.
You never built anything but were always planning
Someone offered you 10 cinder blocks
And the two of you spent an afternoon
Carrying them just to test your manhood
“Where should I put them?” he asked you.
“Anywhere,” you answered, and that’s where they landed
At weird angles, as if blown over by God’s infants
I can’t make anything of them
Except as an art exhibit
Or a hole punishing plants for trespassing
The blocks are numbered, more confused than ever
Someone somewhere should have a husband with the rest
If we got together we’d build a wall or patio
And pretend we understand you
By reading petroglyphs.
The blocks you bought for the cat
With letters of the alphabet
I hope he’s reading this
I used to find the consonants
Backed into corners
But totally unable to hiss
Our cat had an order to his madness
You insisted “Just look at the way he stares at it”
“He knows its purpose and I know his”
Like him, I know what’s up
And you’re not it.
The Crows Left
Those crows you tried to catch
And make me eat for your own reasons
They never left
They land outside the window
And stare right through me
Thinking I look like you
I refused to eat them, will not til I’m beaten
Though I walk in my garden
Waving at them.
Last night I hanged the clothes you left
With cartoon clothespins, shirt above the pants
To see if they would leave or ambush you.
I know so many couples meet
Because their faces seem familiar
But with these intrigues against you
Plus my crow brothers
I have replaced you completely.
Recipes To Calm Me
You left these recipes to calm me
They seem a bit like messages you left without their endings
You said life is a definite process, so relish it.
Even the order of ingredients seemed meant to send me
Into paroxysms of seeking, so that shopping seemed thrilling
Starting at the exit and crushing cigarettes between my fingers
And the instant I left the script and let nature do its thinking
The sense that I was doing something vital, sacrificial
Almost slowed my breathing
Fire now turned rarified and sent me to its center
It made me wonder if the lists you never finished
Turned molten, filled the dishes
Til there was one dish left with all things in it.
What you left the earth
Left for me
Left for anyone lost and using GPS technology
Was a space where a life or tree should stand instead
A bump of earth of just such width
It forms one spaceship’s worth of gravity
Transmitting faintly, steadily, as if an alien dropped its locator
A capsule of old baseball cards and childish space Ids
Medals for imaginary generals and soldiers in their company
Little things you seemed to want the world to see
And wonder, like Martians, what happened to such people
Who lived but then left suddenly,
collecting their things and leaving quietly,
As if to meet another alien military
One day, you told me, some scientist or hobbyist
Especially anyone who missed a life like this
Will get suspicious, check the internet
Come and try to dig up proof that life exists
in spaces on the boundary
So you left this space as an offer to curiosity
Proof of what you saw once when space grew endlessly
Things small enough for a child to invoke infinity.
And still the shape of the interface has some uncertainty.
One part of the space you left
Sits still unspent outside of me.
The jar is empty
You blame me
You didn’t eat a single one
And I don’t believe you
Those jellybeans were tiny
Crushed and stuck together
Half and partial jellybeans really
You said you knew how many existed
Exactly. I admit you won the jar for something
So why didn’t you eat them?
You and those people have an agreement
Which has no reason
Now the jar is empty
A gift though, not an accusation.
What We Can’t See
What we look at is far too complex for what we see
So we have to make the visible invisible to achieve simplicity
The way a camera exposes itself, hours on end
So long that what’s left is whatever stayed waiting behind the scenes
The way Newton pierced his own eye socket
To see a limited spectrum which only prisms consider light’s elements
Or how phantom cosmological masses block light
from every star which has no longer existed
Reductio ad absurdum stares at one small point in the distance
Hoping to achieve perspective, while
Expecting that 1 same spot to contain an invisible universe.
Dan Gallagher is a former professor with 20+ years experience in publishing, tv, and new media.