Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Phoenix Issue, No. 16, Winter 2008



A man thinks he is lucky to smoke cigarettes and not cough.
The car windshield is fogged and the heater busted,
but there is still a moon to be grateful for.

And it is bitter cold outside so what’s more
he slips on the wool gloves his wife spent a month knitting,
and he wears them for her, believing a simple gesture
can make her happy.

One night he takes the long way home,
and for a long time he does not speak, and
standing on the front porch he takes a deep breath,
and through the window he eyes on the table
a plate of rice and a glass of milk and on the stove
a pot of beans and a greasy frying pan.

He can hear his wife humming the same music
he tried but failed all day to rid from his head.

Now he goes inside, and now from room to room switching on lights
he walks up and down the corridor before sitting at the bottom of the stairs,
and because it is a habit he is now dropping his shoes to the floor.

There is a word for what he does, a simple word, and the word
moves through the world, and its melody is silence.

What happiness to know more than the known world,
to believe in what cannot be seen.

What joy to welcome the dead where they no longer belong.
And what misery.

In a perfect world he knows which really counts—
in a perfect world, which this is not.