• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 11
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We Learn by Watching

Be gentle. Stay calm. That's the what I learnt by watching them
watching me, as if I was an episode in a long saga.
I always had that face for the public.
A mixture of repair, disdain to my very eyes.

When he brought Cindy home, I felt my face tighten
a dancer's bun, I had seen him fail responsibly before.
When Cindy came home, he swore to watch her,
tend for her needs: wash the hair gently like it was his own.
Walk her daily. Feed her and be company. Be a world in one body.
He made manly promises that were womanly executed.
He made the same promises before, I was the main witness-
I continued to stir the daily soups in silence. I watched them, a world of their own.
I never understood Cindy's secret, his blossoming
I stirred, silence.

It was the dog show, I still recall the October chill
the chill that wrapped me in the light brown jacket
before I stepped out into the fog, he said
he hated my jacket and the way I wore my hair-
I only said he looked childish in square jackets.
A jacket insult for another, another passing note under a long margin of thoughts I complied by watching him move, inside and outside my life.


We Learn by Watching

The car next to us, like her house had Jackie, Jackie of sprayed hair and short light skirts- she greeted us and led Bruno, her mutt out. Cindy howled, and ran to Bruno
He ran to Jackie. Cindy was her owner's responsibility
I restrain myself, marched light-footed.

He smiled once her way, shame on him
He barked in my face but smiled twice at her, shame on him
he smiled the third time, but it wasn't short-skirt Jackie
it was the cameraman- what does he see that I don't?
Damn Cindy and the courtesy of dogs, and dog laws and owners!
He smiled another time but I couldn't look him in the eye
this time it was Jackie and Bruno-
I stroked Cindy's hair, asked him if he needed anything-
shame on me.


We Learn by Watching

I sat watching the sun across the sky,
fading in early on a fall's night and they were late that day,
but the winds, my distraction- rushed with pairs of green and red socks
the children rushed with their kites, the day rushed while I stayed inside
and across the wind and the windows
the tardiness unveiled beyond the blown curtains
the marriage of Bruno and Cindy
All dogs; copulating animals, copulating arms and legs and faces that forgot
their owners, faces that left their owners hanging in sheets
by my bedroom window,
A dog walker's evening; not a woman's delight-
We only learn, hard by peeking at the life of other people
the life we think we own
what we patch perfectly,
Be gentle. Stay calm, again. I was watching them
glancing at me, all owners and dogs.