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Home > Columns > Paul Schweer > February, 2007 - What Is Left

What Is Left by Paul Schweer


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I was hoping I was
hoping we could heal
each other

-- Alanis Morissette

"Is there a first aid kit?" she says.

Not that I can see.
"Maybe somewhere," I say.
"What do you need?"

"Some tape for my wrists."

And I know what she means.
"There is some in my bag,"
I say. "Hold on."

She tries to tear a piece, just a little bit
to send a signal. A silent request.
Her wrists are darkening,
strands of bruising circling her arms.

"This happens," I say, "every time you come here."

"They don't mean to."

"Let me help," I say, and take the tape -- a strip of white,
one end to bare skin -- carefully
covering her battered wrists.

***

There is a door mat. There is sunlight; there are shadows where
the mat meets the double glass doors going outside.
A bit of cranberry bliss, or maybe a piece of a thick slice
of no-sugar-added banana nut bread, stands tall
on the ceramic tile, casting a shadow over small crumbs.

It is a mess,
somebody's accident.
I didn't make it,
couldn't have prevented it.

I am just trying to enjoy what is left -- the residue of
coffee and milk, faint trace of an artificial sweetener.
Lingering last taste of yet another cup made like all the rest.
Anticipated -- souring my breath. Coloring my teeth brown.


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