buried song


Buried Song

Amy Gerstler

When our love first became alien to me,
when you first peered at me like I was smeared
and illegible, then a rude-humored voice
began to leak from some objects, a tube of anise
toothpaste, for example, a taste I can’t sanction
given licorice’s near-opiate sweetness,
so like that of a well-told lie. So I questioned
the right of that toothpaste, and later a lamp,
to disparage me. But that was as far as I got
in defending myself. There’s something crushing
about being judged by the butterknife you just
buttered your muffin with. When I took issue
with its critique, I was met by aggressive
metallic laughter. How long have objects been
nursing these grievances? Though the authority
they seized seemed like a disease, I was nonetheless
hurt by what they implied. This winter, while seated
beneath a chestnut tree, trying to unite my mind
long enough to understand a paragraph, the tree
spoke to me, though at first I mistook its voice
for tuba music, a rake scraping flagstone, or
someone snaking a drain. Though the tree
astonished me with its equanimity, though it talked
gently about how to treat ailments not easily named,
when I left the tranquil courtyard that afternoon and
ran into smack you and you looked at me askance,
it took several days to recover from your glance.

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash