Suburban House Love

We could be in a kitchen,
She and I.
A kitchen in a suburban home
in Wisconsin,
A Saturday afternoon,
for our little boy’s birthday party.
Wood grain cabinetry
and splatter sprayed dry wall.
Light blue balloons,
pink and yellow ones too,
taped to the walls, ceilings,
kitchen appliances, and doorways.
We could be there
with the
fluorescent light
merged with
the sunlight from windows
to warm us and turn our feelings
to goodness.
To know what it’s like to have
relaxed muscles and breath.
To feel cold iced tea move
over our tongues.

Little Baby Neal

I had a dream.
It was [blank] and I.
We were walking on what seemed
a neverending 6-inch deep lake.
At parts
we suspected the water was really deep.
It was night and the darkness seemed
neverending too.
Just went on and on.
It was really muddy in areas.
We still had our shoes on.
They were soggy and waterlogged.
It felt as if dawn might start turning at
any moment, out on the periphery and
perimeter, though it still remained
blankly dark where we stood.
Maybe it felt like that cuz we had kept
walking and walking into the lake
and due to how much time had passed
it seemed like dawn must come soon.
[blank]’s wife and another woman,
definitely someone I knew but can’t recall
now, were walking out into the lake too,
off in the distance to our left.
It was as if [blank] and I had set off ahead
to see if we could find a path off or through
the lake.
The women were carrying a really beautiful
blond haired toddler girl named Neal.
When they finally got close
and we were chatting about what to do
the little girl’s blond hair seemed as vibrant
as fresh flowers there in the darkness.
It was calming to have the little girl around
and I started carrying her in my arm like a dad
holds his own girl.
I kept telling her, “You’re adorable Baby Neal.”
She would giggle and ask,
“Why you say this?”, and all I’d say was,
“Just remember as you grow up, remember
what an adorable little girl you used to be.”
Occasionally, I would look out on the lake
and honestly feel a deep fear and uncertainty,
but something about all of us being together
and the little girl being there made me
hold myself together, to not show fear,
to remain calm and move forward into the lake.
I wondered why the women had been off
on their own, carrying Baby Neal earlier.
It was like we had left them on their own
to look after the child, as men often do.
I thought this dream was a lot about life.
As we move through it
we are uncertain at points, but we have
the reference of those around us to continue
to live.