Today, you are determined
to know about the soul. You decide you’ll go
to an afternoon workshop in a bookstore with windows.
At the coffee shop, your daughters play XO
& you explain a diagonal trajectory is also possible.
So many beautiful things go downward,
like your daughters’ hair, lightbulbs, breasts,
& some plants here, hung from the ceiling.
You realize you don’t know the names of plants.
The small one on your table is a cactus,
but what’s the one in the corner called, or the leaf
powdered in cacao on your coffee? Is this a sign
of growing old? To contemplate plants & acquire
a love for watermelon juice? To consider piercing your nose
or be seized by the brightness of this spoon, the ceiling lights
inside it like fishing boats? The waitress
is also a photographer & keeps a camera on the side.
She asks the couple in front of you (the guy strokes
his girlfriend’s triceps) if she can take their photo.
Your daughter has red velvet cake in her hair,
your husband says he needs to pee. You go home,
answer emails & try to straighten your spine.
Your daughter figures out how to read “exactement,”
but can’t tell the difference between 67, “soixante-sept,”
& 77, “soixante-dix-sept.” You blame the French. You shout
dictation words across the living room & tell your kids no,
you’re not making fries, they should eat salad.
You wonder whether it’s wise to start asking them
to like salad when you have an appointment with your soul
in an hour. They agree to cucumber & grilled halloumi.
Before you leave, you ask your husband
if you look OK & he says your hair’s too oily.
You run to the shower & tell yourself it’s appropriate
to arrive a little late, with clean wet hair & no makeup
to a workshop on the soul. You throw in a wooden bead necklace.
As you walk out, your husband wonders why you insist
on going that late anyway. Don’t listen. Get in the car & speed up.
You park & run to the bookstore in the heat.
There you are, with your wet hair your sweat your
wooden necklace your chipped nail polish, you are here
& the door is locked. The session’s been cancelled.
All day the day’s been telling you this
isn't working, stay home. You never really know
whether God wants you to give up or go on.
On the way back, you call your friend & she doesn’t
pick up. You order a latte & the coffee tastes burnt.
You play backgammon with your daughters,
remind them to brush their teeth.
You rarely watch TV, but tonight you flip:
a movie about demigods, a swimsuit contest.
You order French fries & go to bed late.
Your husband walks in, bends down to kiss you
& noticing a loose thread coming out of your shoelace
on the floor, picks it up. He flicks on a lighter
& it’s not the whole shoe that burns, just the thread.