Familiar, terrible moment

when we are
between activities
snacking on salted peanuts
in the shell.

It's an end of autumn afternoon
sun warming
this quiet plaza
to a pleasant yellow hue.

And I think about the
Spanish wall,
the square ceramic tiles
pressed red and green and yellow and orange
into the stucco wall of the community center

as if they were a child's game
a rebus
that I could rearrange with my thumbs
sliding them around
in straight lines
until the picture
of a happy future

"Do you ever think about our Future?"
You're looking at me through
squinting serious eyes.

"The peanut is neither a nut, nor a pea," I reply,
not sure whether it was your eyes
or the question
that herded me onto that

The sinking feeling
that once again we are at that place
in the subtle
taxonomy of our relationship.

The place I've come to refer to as
"Mrs. Jones is pissed."

JD Frey -- July 1, 2001


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