by Christopher Brunt
Before she came over
the very first time
he swept the hardwood floors
and polished surfaces;
he changed the sheets from teal
to Bourbon red and flipped a corner back.
The living room table was cleared
of take-out menus and functional pens,
precisely scattered with the Paris Review,
a translation of Mann, with Habermas and Mayakovsky,
the Well-Tempered Clavier open to the D minor fugue,
a new biography of Baldwin, a small blue candle.
Then, the dust was blown, swept with the heel
of the hand.
The kitchen was scrubbed and sprayed;
more candles, these in foot-tall glass
and bearing the prayer and image of La Virgen de Guadalupe
were made to ring the table in a glowing horseshoe.
On the counter, a bowl of oranges, a book called
Cooking in the Basque Country. He put Scriabin on the player
very low, opened the window so the gardenia
scent crept in. It was after all the heart of summer.
There would be gardens hung from the rafters
if only there were rafters.
He took down certain pictures, put up others,
and finally hung the Miró print
in the hall above the spot where it had leaned
against the wall for seven months. French-
pressed coffee. Expelled the garbage. Flicked
the lightbulb in the lamp. Smoothed the corner
of the rug. Looked from end to end, was satisfied.
She rang. He buzzed her up. In the mirror
by the door he saw his face begin to slide like the first
chattering pebbles of the avalanche.
You can read more of his poetry here, some prose here, or stalk him on RateMyProf here.