Prose and Poetry Writing as a Practice

The Tuesday Before Thanksgiving


draft- Tia Levings, 2015


That room was a mess.

So full of broken furniture that I couldn’t see the floor, with

no pathway to walk.

Tchotchkies, curios, knick knacks, dust beams vaguely illumined by sun,

no hope of ever crossing the room,  of cleaning the window

pane on the far side, no

muslin curtains filtering lemony summer light, no

jar of daisies to draw the eye away from dandered  cobweb corners.

I may have forgotten to tell you-

there was no way to do that.

The remarkable thing was-

when I finally showed her, was that she only said,

“There’s a lot here. Tell me about this bench.”

The piece nearest her, nearest the door, and

it startled me.

I couldn’t tell if she teased…. or,

maybe this one preferred to wait like an oily cat, slice

with the precision of shame. Only-

“tell me the significance of this bench.”

She didn’t call it a pew.

To focus on just one thing settled a sigh, trust

breathing a cool morning mist over a fevered pond, and

I could see plain the first time

he crammed it into the room, or-

maybe the room crammed around it-

until cat feces piled in hidden places, and

spider tents draped the spindles, and

magazines curled with dark mildew, and

crates of bottles came marked, “Poison. Do not eat.”

But sometimes I did, and

sometimes I served them for dinner, and

saved the vomit in boxes for later.

This bench, now that I look at it-

smeared grime waxed into the grain,

lacerations sharp with slivers, ready

to pierce the soft flesh of my thigh, its

scarred veneer-

this bench is not useful to me anymore.

I don’t need it, and

that’s how we started. She

didn’t tease and didn’t shame and

never left my side.

She held my hand, we’ve

cleared the room. Dropped-

all of it over a cliff I think. Just-

let it fall off the truck,

behind me now.

It’s been 12 weeks, but

I can see the floor.

St John's River  from Mandarin Pointe

St John’s River from Mandarin Pointe

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