It’s enough that my mother wants me to come outside, and help her;
That I actually, physically take up the brush, and that I carefully
Stain the edges of the deck –
Redden their wood –
For a couple of hours.
I will bend my blonde head under the sun, under its
Smaller than it, than –
I will carefully wield the little brush, lapping
Around the wooden edges – their squarish but rounded
…And evincing faint wood grains…
…Rough in a few areas, over these I will
Dip and smooth,
Dip and smooth.
With the grain,
Spreading the red stain,
Under the sun.
She is out there, doing it now,
Using the brush I need to use.
She cannot be stopped, has little frizz bits of stain clinging to her hair, and I hope
She doesn’t experience pain, hair loss or damage from it;
I hope paint thinner won’t be necessary.
She doesn’t come in; she is at work.
She doesn’t come in to ask me to take over…
She is busy.
She will perhaps complete the entire job and then take as a portion of her reward
The satisfaction of holding it over my head that she had hardly any help
With the deck
That’s all fine.
But perhaps, she needs me to tell her now,
“I’ll take over.”
Perhaps she needs both – both the time and the labor itself,
And the act of my saying,
“I do this for you;
You deserve it.”
I do this for you;
You deserve it.
I don’t know if she deserves it.
However I’ll quit analyzing, and do it,
For it will perhaps do us all some good.
She went outside and painted awhile
(A short while)
And got dizzy in the head.
She saw places on the white trellis her mother’d be upset with her for having reddened.
The painter, however, believed that the time for cleaning up the little trim dabbrles was later,
After the reddening had been done smoothly and fully over the virgin wood,
Turning its greyish sandy board color into a smooth red loveliness,
Like the heart of a big oaky tree,
Glowing like it’d just been split;
Or one moltening into flames sparking aloft
Into a jet sky.
The stain fixed the wood of the deck in a state of purest loveliness –
It evoked its wildness, hinted at its possible
Glorying in a pyre, yet the stain would withstand
Weather and remain
This lovely for
Awhile to come.
In time, perhaps a few years, they’d look upon the stain as wasted effort.
For it would by that time be peeling and chipping, creating upon the wood
A farcical appearance of having been
Disingenuously beautified. Its humble reality would glint through the stain
In a deprecation, the flaking remnants of the beautification would stand to contrast its truth in an
Ugly irony. What then, but to perhaps sand
Everything everything away,
To chip it away with little hand tools,
More work than ever the initial staining,
To stain it again.
Perhaps the second time around, they’d choose a color
Closer that of the natural color of the wood, so the
Dequintessence would not be quite so glaring
As the stain weathered away.
Voices in the living room,
From whence the painter has escaped to write this, are
Cheerful and bright.
Arguing and questioning.
Chastising one another.
“Well, let’s wipe it up now!” “Oh shoot!” “Let’s go COME ON –“;
Tones at a pitch.
Her father’s voice and laughter, they none mind it –
“It’s all over your socks! Your legs!” More from Father,
A calm indistinct growl; her brother
Heightens his voice for it
Matters he is heard,
What he says matters.
My father grumbles indistinctly and my brother’s
Girlfriend chirps over the whole scene for
She’s not much involved, nor my mother, who has been silent through; she is
Busy at something else,
Preparing a meal we are to share, with
Father’s grumbling help. And I, glory,
I am in a quiet dark bedroom
Typing. Clean despite the staining I have done,
Sober despite the vodka in my juice of a few hours past,
Sated from a few bites and
Sane, momentarily sane,
From the pleasant text message conversation
I shared with my friend, in which we both made light of
Our inability to function and our
No more now the loud vibrations populating everyone’s phrases
With unintended echoes. No more now in a church, reverberating powerfully;
They’d spoken to me in a room, this room, this room we’re in.
I get hungry by the sounds of food preparation in the kitchen.
My brother grows calmer;
He’s speaking to a friend. “The fireworks were really good actually.”
Keys jingle on his belt as he heads out the door.
Father locates dishes Mother asked him to find in cupboards.
My stomach clenches and twists from the vodka and from my odd posture over the floor,
There is music in my heart.
My life in all its phases has
Continually taught me that I will go
I don’t know why this must be.
I think of a different mother, now.