Robert Beveridge

8235 Northlake Ct.
For Nancy Ann Bruno

We sat
in the unfurnished living room
paging through HOUSE FOR SALE brochures
and feeling
an insistent sense of rightness,
as if stretching out
by this fireplace
on this white carpet
were somehow more appropriate
than doing so anywhere else.

I could close my eyes
and see the blue living-room furniture here,
a bit more worn with age,
and child-sized footsteps
of ground-in dirt
intermingling with the scent
of wet dog just come
from the lake out back.

From the kitchen,
the scent of warming coffee,
the sound of you
humming a favorite song—
“Misty”, maybe,
or “As Time Goes By.”

Upstairs, the master bedroom
in earth tones, walnut headboard
crowning a waterbed
still rippling
from the previous night’s lovemaking,
empty champagne glasses
and half-burnt candles
entwined on the nightstand.

Another bedroom converted
into a library, scented
with cherry vanilla tobacco
and the must
of old and decaying paper,
a bookmarked copy
of Dante’s Convito
beside the chair.

A third bedroom,
a low unmade bed
with a few blonde hairs
beside the pillow,
labrador’s sleep-space
loyally beside it,
pictures of sports stars
and astronauts
lining the walls.

When I opened my eyes,
the kitchen was empty,
the bedrooms as well,
just you and me,
embraced, lying
on the white living room rug.
It was a small
truth, but it was our truth,
as surely as if we’d lived there
five years or so,

paid off some of the mortgage
and firmly planed the bones
in the closet.

We walked out the door
and I felt the pins
removed one by one
from my ears and wrists,
the old pains returning.

I turned to you,
on that bottom step of our little truth
and wanted to tell you

I felt we were leaving home

but the words wouldn’t come
and we walked on in silence.


Five Long Years

It couldn’t be five years
to the day
when I write this.
I am not thoughtful enough
to have remembered that.
Instead, it is five years
and four days later. Hands
have swept the clock’s face clean
so many thousands of times
since then that the dirt
of memory is swept,
for the most part, away. What
were we doing five years ago
today? I don’t remember
(and I’d guess you don’t,
either). So I’ll revise history
a little, play with the math
and factor in the intervening
leap year, and come up
with five years ago.

What caused me to think
to bring the May ’93 notebook
on this trip with me? So I’d have it
and could leaf through this morning,
so I could remember
like we were back then,
how it felt
to sit on the steps
of the townhouse we wanted as ours
and hold you,
bury my face in your hair
and whisper I love you,
how we couldn’t wait for nightfall
and your parents to drift off,
for even at thirty-two
and as a guest, with them knowing
what was going on, of course,
we didn’t want to flaunt
how good it was, how every move
and every breath in bed together
were trembling, incessant fire?

I have missed you, Nancy, and not a week
goes by that I don’t think
of those moments we spent
on Northlake Court.
Maybe one day you’ll read this
and maybe you’ve been remembering, too.

© Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge creates electronic noise ( and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, Ohio. His work has recently appeared or will do so in Chiron Review, Random Sample Review, and Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.

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