Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I don't want you to lose your balance when I pull the rug out from under you, but I've GOT to REFINISH THESE FLOORS!
They're grey with wear patterns and scuffed from stumbles
And you can barely see the wood beneath layers of buildup
The grain is marred with scratches and pock-marked by carelessness.

Like the time you wore your golf shoes in the house.
I know you're sorry, and what's done is done
But we're on the verge of no return and if I don't do something now, the floor will give way
And then the ceiling
And then the walls.
And there will be no place for either of us to come home to.

I blame myself.
I meant to say NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE
I should have said NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE
I should have insisted NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE!
But you needed your orthopedics and I wanted to support you
And I thought it would be fine, with proper care.

But mostly, I thought you would tread softly.
For when I met you, you were a carpenter. Born to work with your hands.
Your strong, gentle hands, taking rough-hewn pieces and fitting them together
Sanding smooth and nourishing with elixers until they glowed from within
Under your careful hands, even awkward things became beautiful.
I chose you for your hands.

So I thought you would tread softly.
But one thing led to another
Orhopedics to moon boots to platform clogs
And eventually you put aside those hands
And looked to your feet.

You were going to be the next Gregory Hines
So the tap shoes came out
And the rhythmic tapping did a number on these floors.
And you were no Gregory Hines,
But I wouldn't have minded
Except now, you don't even dance.

When did you choose the corner office and the leather desk set?
Where you sit, downcast
Your hands, shackled with cuff-links

While I stand, contemplating the state of these floors
And while it's not the worst it's ever been, we almost didn't make it back the last time
In Oregon where the incessant rain tap-danced a number on these floors.
And I feared my number was up, so strong was the temptation to cross the double yellow line
And I can't go back there.
I'll go it alone before I go back there.

So it's time to refinish these floors.
If I go it alone, you may not like the outcome. It may not feel like home
So step out from that desk and lend me your hands
Or hold onto something while I rip the rug out from under you
Because one way or another
I've GOT to refinish these floors.

(c) 2010 Jeanene Vesper

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