Where Words Go
by Becky Dennison Sakellariou
“Pushing a Sofa up Mt. Everest”
From a dream by Mary Norbert Korte, poet, Mendocino, California
While waiting for the chicken to boil
so I can put in the rice
so I can eat this special soup-and-tea meal
so I can drink the awful Botania Phosphates
that will empty my insides out
so I can be ready for my colonoscopy
at nine tomorrow morning,
I found myself pushing a sofa
up Mt. Everest.
Or, at least, I thought I did.
It may have been the class system
that I was pushing against
or a terrible sadness about women
still furious with men, men
still confused about women.
Or maybe it was my daughter-in-law
who has closed her heart to me
or just the god-damned cost of living.
I don’t know Mendocino
where the poet had this dream,
having been to California only once
in 1991 when my sister got married
for the third time. The boys, with their thick
black pony tails, flew in from Cleveland
singing loud Greek songs
about mothers and sons
in the back seat of the rented Honda.
Peter refused to wear a tie
to the ceremony, although he danced
with my 79-year-old aunt Elizabeth
with the right amount of measured abandon
for a twenty-year-old.
I was speechless flying over Los Angeles,
so many little square houses, orange roofs,
busy automobiles, so many straight roads
going to and from each other.
I didn’t want to go there ever again.
I called Diane to ask
if I had to fly to LA
in order to get to her.
She comforted me with color
and light and a madrigal
on her cello, probably in A minor,
like the wind at Force 4,
a moderate breeze raising dust,
loose paper, and small branches.
I think of Diane when I stand
at my ceiling-high bedroom windows,
of thin branches on lemon trees
that vibrate faintly
like her bow.