It is election night ’74. I’m one of the 62% who didn’t give a crap. Still, I watched Cronkite tell me about trends and Voter Profile Analysis and drank a bottle of hearty burgundy until I had enough. I’ve just finished a poem and it’s late. Maybe two. I’m scared to go to bed. Don’t want to sleep the poem off or maybe I think that in the morning it won’t seem nearly so good or won’t be there at all since I never write at night. I read it again and it’s better. I put it on the night stand next to my bed so I’ll hear it if it tries to get away during the night. (There are advantages to being a light sleeper.) I’ve hung my pants, like limp legs, from a peg on the wall. Underneath them is a print of Cezanne’s “Card Players.” They are not happy with the turn of events and squirm while being slowly kicked to death. This late, there are never cars. Still, there are things to hear. I feel the liquid in my cheeks hesitate before collecting around the edges of bone. An empty bottle of wine is sitting on the kitchen table where I put it. I don’t have to check. The mice are quiet as mice. I listen to the furnace, the metal as it expands and contracts. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear there were mice in this house.
Andrew Grossbardt edits the fine new magazine The Chariton Review, and has had poems in Poetry Now, New Letters and Madrona. (Spring 1975)