He Checks His Luggage

How the ordinary clings, even in the midst of disaster-
the hospital parking attendant takes your money.  My child
just died, you explain as if it meant the natural order
of collecting parking fees should change, as if the sky
should be green—you drive the speed limit, because
you always have.  

The house is the way you left it, the toothbrush
still in its holder, the coffee pot, socks on the floor.
Something more should happen, he mutters to himself—
music perhaps, a tango playing the backdrop
if this were a film, but the rooms hum a ordinary
silence.  This is no film.

The last time I saw you, he writes in his notebook,
the sun was shinning.  You smile at me, always enough.
We talk as if we would talk again in a few days
about your family being home for Thanksgiving,
about mine—how nice to run into each other
in a grocery store parking lot.

Someone passes us pushing a cart.  I should know
this person, he thinks.  We part.  It’s been a year
or two.  I look for you, but the synchrony is missing.
I open a bag of Cheetos, something to munch on
as I drive back to my house—the toothbrush
has been replaced with an electric one,

something my oral surgeon gave me after implanting
a screw into my jaw.  Titanium, he tells me.
That should last the duration. Suddenly it stops—
the ordinary.  That’s how you know, he says
to the women checking his bag at the counter.


                        from García Lorca Is Somewhere in Produce