Our life’s carnival

Of course a drawing-room door will warp over time
      Especially one that children hung onto and let giggling swing,
      Or pressed against on rainy days when we played hide-and-seek.
But why can’t a door be repaired?
      They hardly make them out of mahogany any more,
      At least not with parrot carvings.
      And why shouldn’t we care about the preservation of the neighborhood,
            Even if all the neighbors have moved out years ago?

You throw in unrelated arguments, said Marsha
Just like Mother used to do—
      As if a good observation has to wait politely for its moment to take the platform,
      As if an observation were not true until it proved itself useful.

Because you need to switch points of view like the piled-on beats of a pounding rhythm,
      If you want to march with feather-crested revelers behind the trombones in the samba.

After assuring us that the only goal was to have fun,
      And that anything we do is fine,
      And that we should throw ourselves about as free as palm trees under an open sun,
The instructor said the right way to do it
      Is to rotate our hips about our core
            While letting them sway side to side at the same time,
                  All the while moving forward.

And if you take away all the rainy days in my life,
      It would be like taking away Father’s unclamped final years,
      Or expunging the argument Mother had with me over not pursuing math in college.
      Her head for figures was good enough
            To keep the store out of the chains for thirty years.
So why can’t we preserve the mahogany parrots?

Don’t tell me which arguments are relevant to my case.
      You need to balance many thoughts at once
      To dance the samba through our life’s carnival.

This poem was published in issue 10, Spring 2019, of Ají Magazine.

Andy Oram
June 6, 2018

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