Monday, February 15

morning surprises

My Cockroach Lover

The summer I slept
on JC's couch,
there were roaches
between the bristles
of my toothbrush,
roaches pouring
from the speakers
of the stereo.
A light flipped on
in the kitchen at night
revealed a Republican
national Convention
of roaches,
an Indianapolis 500
of roaches.

One night I dreamed
a giant roach
leaned over me,
brushing my face
with kind antennae
and whispering, "I love you."
I awoke slapping myself
and watched the darkness
for hours, because I realized
this was a dream
and so that meant
the cockroach
did not really love me.

-Martin Espada

The Space Heater

On the then-below-zero day, it was on,
near the patients' chair, the old heater
kept by the analyst's couch, at the end,
like the infant's headstone that was added near the foot
of my father's grave. And it was hot, with the almost
laughing satire of a fire's heat,
the little coils like hairs
 in Hell.
And it was making a group of sick noises-
I wanted the doctor to turn it off
but I couldn't seem to ask, so I just
stared, but it did not budge. The doctor
turned his heavy, soft palm

outward, toward me, inviting me to speak, I
said, "If you're cold-are you cold? But if it's on
for me..." He held his palm out toward me,
I tried to ask, but I only muttered,
but he said, "Of course," as if I had asked,
and he stood up and approached the heater, and then
stood on one foot, and threw himself
toward the wall with one hand, and with the other hand
reached down, behind the couch, to pull
the plug out. I looked away,
I had not known he would have to bend
like that. And I was so moved, that he
would act undignified, to help me,
that I cried, not trying to stop, but as if
the moans made sentences which bore
some human message. If he would cast himself toward the
outlet for me, as if bending with me in my old
shame and horror, then I would rest
on his art-and the heater purred, like a creature
or the familiar of a creature, or the child 
of a familiar,
the father of a child, the spirit of a father,
the healing of a spirit, the vision
 of healing,
the heat of vision, the power of heat,
the pleasure of power.

-Sharon Olds

when i woke up yesterday, there was a cockroach on my box of tissues.
in other news, i got a space heater, and now i'll be warm until summer.

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