The Last Thing She Wants (Written February 16, 2018)

The Last Thing She Wants

She doesn’t growl at me any more than usual.
Hardly at all.
A gentle – or not so gentle – reminder
that it has been how many days now

Since I last did the laundry.
The basket’s full
and smells when she opens it.
She has nothing to wear, not even
a bra, on the off chance that she might

Want to go out. There’s dirt everywhere,
dustballs on the stairs,
cat hairs floating in the rays of the sun,
and she has trouble breathing.
When was the last time I vacuumed?

She can’t remember, nor can I.
A week, at least.
And why do I cook the same thing
night after night when I know
she has no appetite. If only

She would tell me what she likes.
But no,
it’s either too dry or too oily, seldom
the right mix. Maybe, she thinks,
we should call Meals on Wheels.

Give ourselves a break. She appreciates
everything I do,
but it’s too much for one person,
as witness the house crumbling,
and the last thing she wants,

She says, is to live (or die) in squalor.
I can deny
the obvious, if I want, that’s my
business. Life is what happens when
we look the other way, or something

Like that. In the kitchen window, under
the spruce tree,
six female pheasants are digging
and digging for yesterday’s seeds.

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