Rub

In the blue TV screen light
eyes a dull memory’s reflection
Paul vacates the love seat for the floor.
In the background he hears
Lori move about the kitchen.

The digital clock changing numbers
wakes him from a pale and leathery vision—
an old sin under the sleeve like a time-bled tattoo.
A Tide commercial advertises a new clean.
Someone speaks about Jesus and salvation.

Lori places the last dish in the cabinet.
The towel drapes the oven handle.
Barefoot she crosses the tile printed to look like wood.
She sits in the love seat.
Her knees next to Paul’s head.

Lori says she read the obituaries this morning.
Found no entry for the moths on the windowsill.
No one they knew made it into print.
She picks up the remote and changes channel
to a story about a Franklin stove washing up on Gilligan’s Island.

She separates her knees enough to pat the love seat’s leather.
Paul slides over and feels her hands touch his shoulders.
She rubs worry from between his shoulder blades.
It feels to him like she finds wings and pulls them out
to remind him of soaring.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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