Tuesday, October 26, 2010

These are the Things that Make a Nervous Breakdown

When I spotted the fly on my ham and cheese sandwich,
it already had one foot in the mustard.
He or she, I’m not sure,
but I jumped and waved it away.

Then when I picked up my glass,
my mouth still forming the words,
and lifted the glass to my lips,
there it was,

floating and dead,
in all that pale lemonade.

I scooped it out with a spoon,
dumped the dead fly down the sink.

and then poured the rest of the lemonade after it.

What? you asked,
Nothing. I said.
Just another thing.
Just another thing that can ruin a meal.

I stand at the sink
and listen to myself breathe,
a whistle sound, faint but there,
trailing the inhale
and trailing the exhale.
Trailing again.

I look down at my unpainted toes,
and they stare back up at me, like ten strange eyes.
For a moment, I wonder who they belong to.
They seem too far away to be my own feet
and just like that everything starts to come undone.
It will take awhile. It won’t fully happen until much later that night.
But this is where it began.
When it ends,
it ends,
I will remember that.

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