Who could live with a person who sells
vacuum cleaners to old ladies, sweeps
the dead skin from their mattresses
promising them a cleaner life?
All I felt was the heat on his skin.
Later in the dark, when the baby’s cries
were like spikes in the mattress
and he wouldn’t get up, I wanted to throw
his body off the bed. Words float away
like dust motes leaving nothing
but quiet air, the way the small silences
around a conversation alter the direction
of a thought and are seen, like dams
in a river, by the way the talk flows up,
over and around. I sat in front of the TV
serving the baby chunky food from jars,
the day Robert Kennedy was shot.
Sobbed for his lifted head, his empty eyes,
my silent life, and left then, along
with the unused words, drove down
the two lane road in my rusty Volkswagon
with the kids, headed for words
like insight, foresight, some other life.
About the Author: Nancy Richardson
Nancy Richardson’s poems have appeared in journals anthologies. She has written two chapbooks. The first, Unwelcomed Guest (2013) by Main Street Rag Publishing Company and the second, the Fire’s Edge (2017) by Finishing Line Press concerned her formative youth in the rust-belt of Ohio and the dislocation, including the Kent State shootings that affected her young adulthood. In An Everyday Thing, she has included those poems and extended the narrative to memories of persons and events and the make a life.
She has spent a good deal of her professional life working in government and education at the local, state, and federal levels and as a policy liaison in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Education and for the Governor of Massachusetts. She received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2005 and has served on the Board of the Frost Place in Franconia, NH. Visit her website.