This poem appears in the Fall 2020 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe, click here.

The early April sun has bloomed outside
To call our dormant daffodils to rise
And us to draw the shades and welcome day’s
Warm revelations. Rather, your hand strays
Away from mine to cinch your robe and hide
Some place my cold-blood touch can’t criticize.

My face confessing bitterness, I slink
Inside the bathroom and prepare to go.
You follow, so I croak some words to nag.
With some fossorial reply, you sag
Like daffodils that decorate our sink—
Cut off from all a flower needs to grow.

Retreating to the shower, I recall
The inner monologue I’ve played before,
Where I’m the spotless one and you derange
Me with your cold unwillingness to change.
But as the water pours, I notice all
My detritus collecting on the floor—

A swampy sign that I’m composed of dust
And will return to dust one sudden day.
My monologue now stopped, my only thought
Is, “Rivet . . . Rivet,” as I notice not
The stainless trim upon the wall, but just
The pair of pins required for it to stay.

When I get dressed, our daughter runs to seize
My hand. She bears a book she hopes I’ll see
About a toad who thought that if he’d shout
“Now, seeds, just grow!” it’d make his garden sprout.
“They grow with water, sun, and breaths of breeze,
You silly toad,” she laughs, then looks at me.