June 26, 2005

Surrounded by corners by Todd Bruce

Standing in the kitchen, straining fat from a fresh, cooling batch
of turkey stock when I heard the squawk of the intercom. He let
her in by pressing his thumb on the button just below the intercom

I heard her reach (or climb, to describe it accurately) each step on
the inside front porch – the house creaking here and there, just a
little. She stopped – they kissed hello. I assume she flicked her hair
and shivered her shoulders slightly to tell how cold it is outside
without saying it out loud.

A pair of shoes (boots more likely by the sounds of them), one by
one, dropping to the carpeted floor (one heel like a mis-hit
xylophone hammer on the adjacent hardwood floor). Ting.


A wool coat being tossed onto a wooden chair. A silk scarf
dripping down a coat sleeve and balling into a loose cocoon
near its cuff. No one but you and I know this until she leaves.
And even then it means nothing to her – other than a scarf on
the floor at the cuff of her coat sleeve.

Does it drop or does it fall? In either instance it layered onto
the back porch like a lost letter and accumulated into miniature
banks within which I nested the kettle of broth, coaxing the
remaining fat to congeal. I secretly look forward, in the early
morning, to removing the pot from the porch (when I hear her
nestle into the down-filled sofa and him into his high-back
chair) to see the ring – the negative – left from melting snow.
A crop circle. Fine art.

The CD changer shuffles (I can barely hear its drives click and
shift) as I slowly fill the sink with cutlery and plates. He has
selected in advance the music he wants her to hear as they
sip scotch and talk and eat expensive cheeses. I am doing
the dishes. I am not there. The water is boiling hot and soapy.
Grandmother taught me to boil water to clean dishes--the
tap does not get hot enough.

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