I was married once
two years after we lived together.
What a life we had
full of slums and irresponsibility
until she grew upset.
Said: Let’s get married.
Said: I don’t like living and using your name.
Said: Don’t you love me enough to marry me?
Didn’t dare say no after two years.
We made the trip to city hall,
was relatively painless,
then we were home again.
Said: This is no neighborhood to have babies,
so we moved.
Said: You should get a better job.
I went to work on Madison avenue.
Said: Forget your crazy ideas of being a poet.
I did and died.
Bill and Michelle arrive just as we stop arguing. There were still bits of the plate on the floor. One chunk was sticking up like a monster’s toe nail or something. I counted the others lying on the floor. There were seven shards in all. I look back over to her, hustling up the drinks tray. I walk up behind her and tell her about the remnants of our battle. I call it the Seven Shard Screaming Fight. I put my arms around her. Even though I can’t see her face I know her mouth’s moving all the way up into that smile that’s all lips and hints of teeth that drives me crazy. Sometimes I wish I didn’t love her so much and most of the time I tell myself I’m crazy for thinking like that. The door goes again and I pull myself away, her little finger hooking on my cufflink, keeping me for a second but not quite stopping me. I go to the door.
They descend, the six of them and the tour guide, below the streets of Edinburgh, just as the drizzle thickens. The tour guide is wearing a top hat and lace stocking and deep red lip stick. She has covered up her corset with a sweater because it’s so cold. One girl, as they hit the damp passage, decides the tour is too scary and goes back up the stairs, back into the cold oatmeal rain of Scottish November.
Sally takes a picture with her camera, looks at it, and wonders if some strange orbs of light are ghosts. She taps the guy next to her on the shoulder.
“Hey, take a look at this picture.”
She shows him the orbs.
“Think they’re ghosts?”
He shakes his head and waves his hand in front of him.
“Oh. Sorry then.”
But she keeps standing next to him anyway. He’s in a bright green soccer jersey and he’s tall and his dark hair is long and curly. He grins at the tour he can’t understand and stoops when the underground passages get too low.
The tour guide tells them, as they go into a room large enough for the man to stand up in, that one particular ghost of the catacombs, a little girl, sometimes picks a favorite visitor of the many that come into her resting place and doesn’t let them leave. The tour guide shines her flashlight into the corners and then makes a show of turning of it off. There are squeals, a big laugh from someone. The room is big and the laugh can’t find the ceiling or the walls. It floats until it finally hit, like a pebble in a deep well. Sally finds herself reaching out to the space next to her, where the tall man is, to take his tan and hairy hand. But there is nothing but air in her grasp.