I didn’t see it coming
going through my day at work,
softball practice later
with friends who lived
in that other world
where I’d spent too little time.
Driving home, the longing to explore
expanded like a helium balloon,
hot molecules seeking space,
straining against worn walls.
I was setting the brake on the pickup,
the vehicle he insisted we needed
to carry equipment for the band
he still hadn’t formed, in our driveway
beside the lawn he still hadn’t mowed,
when he peered out the window
newly risen from the bed he, of course,
had not made, probably wondering
when dinner would be served.
I wasn’t sure
if it was the sound of the brake,
or a tearing from within,
the moment I realized
I would never cook for him again.
Author’s Comment: It’s interesting to me the way those moments that lead up to a major change in our lives can hover for the longest time, like a vapor that slowly creeps in until it fills the room, and a door has to open before something explodes.
Bio: Sharyl Collin has had poems published in Mason’s Road and Rubber Lemon, and has completed her first chapbook, Tales of Trailers, Tamales and a Few Sour Grapes. She lives in Torrance, California, with her family and black lab, Sadie, and works part time in an emergency room.
A very moving poem. It’s still reverberating.
It’s certainly an accurate accounting of the way those life-changers accumulate–also of how inevitable the changes become.
I can relate very well to this one! I, too, was surprised at how fast I went from going to work one day (1990), and on my lunch break, knowing and deciding, I was done and would be ending my marriage that day. It sweeps over you and you know it’s over and you are moving on. Great poem, Sharyl!
Thanks, Kathy. This poem is from 1985, so similar time frame.
I love the way it is the sound of the brake that describes the tearing from one state of being to another.
Break. Brake. The helium balloon exploded into a fire-ball, and what was left? No more dinners for the man without a band, an un-mowed lawn, and an empty seat at the table. An un-made bed left for good, finally. Break.