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Miscarried Future

When the windup monkey
stops smashing its cymbals
the mother and father no-longer-to-be
sit in the gruesome silence
of a hollow home.

They live on a street with no name
in a house with no number
with an extra bedroom
just to rub it in.

Everyone else on the street
endures the same perpetual rain
accented by the random earsplitting
cutlery-rattling thunder
from directly above,
the only sound besides the periodic
sustained booming, moaning and wailing.

They have no block parties,
share no lawn mowers
or infant hand-me-downs.

They are so numerous as to be a cliché
yet so individual
that no one else seems able to relate.

They keep the phone ringers off
and check email only every few days.

The rust bleeding down their homes
marks a kind of failed Passover
that now only keeps the neighbours away
even though they are the only ones
who really know what’s going on inside.

The backyard swing sets flail
back and forth
as the wind panics their flight
and the grains of sand blow
from the box to pester storm tight windows
with almost imperceptible ticking
like the weeks
that will no longer pass.

Friends and family are barricaded
by the frustrating impotence of wordlessness
at the end of the street,
arms full of casseroles and hugs
and a desperate desire to transcend
circumstantially-limited empathy,
yet perhaps secretly hoping
they never truly have to know
life on that road.

And in those empty bedrooms,
half furnished but fully planned,
a no-longer-to-be child
suffers a miscarried future
with no name,
face, smile, fingers or pudgy knees;
no testament for someone not fully alive
except for the moments of joy
that time rapidly makes seem hypothetical,
drowned out by the next
window shaking thunder.

Copyright 2004
Stephen Buckley

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