That Day On The Floor With The Phonebook

It gets quieter around six. Cooler too.
And there’s the distant sound of children playing
in the field.

The tree beyond my window only moves
when I look directly at it.

About 58 dry roasted macadamia nuts lie motionless
inside a plastic container standing like a soldier
on a pack of blue post-it notes.

They don’t taste like real macadamia nuts.
Maybe because they’re in plastic, and they
don’t taste dry roasted at all.

To my left is another plastic container.
This one has 14 dry organic mango slices.
They taste like dry mangoes.
Mission accomplished.

The tree has stopped moving even when
I look at it; and I can’t hear the children.

There’s a man yelling at his wife. She steps back
and kicks him in the head.

Not really.
I want to see if you’re paying attention.

Tomorrow I will fold a phone book into a chimpanzee.
Not a real chimp. A phone book chimp.

It’s not origami. It’s something I invented
called “folding a phone book into something.”

All you need is the formula for how to fold
each page. Then you get started.

Sometimes you need other ingredients, like
maybe an ocean or red markers or pine cones.

You can’t play this game if you don’t have
patience because once you start, you aren’t
supposed to stop until it’s done.

This one time I made a famous Spanish general,
but can’t prove it, because he blew himself up
before I could show anyone.

What a mess. There were bits of pages everywhere.
Under the bed, in the plantation shutters;
I even found a few ripped edges stuck in my teeth.

I should be okay with the chimp. It’s a
domesticated one, not a wild baboon
that could rip your chest out of your chest.

When we first kissed, I was folding the yellow
pages into an African hut. I used it as an excuse
to touch your hand.

“Turn the page down like this,” I said,
as I demonstrated the angle of the leftward fold.

We were sitting on the floor, drinking wine.
I still have the book. It’s at the top of
my bookcase with about two hundred pages still
unfolded. Sometimes when I’m thinking of you,
I’ll pick it up and fold some more.

Then I’ll go back toward the beginning to see
if I can find the smudges left by your fingertips
in the black ink.

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