May 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Three
George Anderson
Swallowing It

He writes on the small card
for her Christmas present:
'I love you but stop nagging'

What do you mean by this? she demands on the yuletide day
a tirade follows–
     'You don’t love me
     you never have
     you don’t know how to love
     you don’t know what love is...'

He fends off the abuse
relying on his experience of human nature
remaining calm & not interjecting

Finally taking up the last accusation
he carefully but thinly argues:

'Love is an ideological construct
presently the concept of love
has been appropriated by trans-national corporations
love exists now only if it can be associated with consumer products–
$50,000 weddings  stretch limousines  diamond rings  ocean cruises  5 star

'What about teenagers who fall in love? she says.
'They usually have nothing!'

Now don’t confuse animal instincts with love.
Didn’t James Joyce phallocentrically suggest
that the larger the woman’s breasts
the greater the male partner’s production of sperm?

*    *    *

They later sit quietly with the kids at a long oregon table
the turkey & potatoes glistening in the sweltering 90 degree heat
pretending to ignore the subtext of the previous conversation.

slowly chewing the turkey
methodically ripping apart the bird
& swallowing it whole–

The tinseled, synthetic tree behind them
sagging  crumbling/
under the weight of the
absurd blend of religious
& sub-arctic imagery
RETURN to May 2005