Eschewing breakfast, I had
Just a cup of coffee and a newspaper.
I got in the car then and drove
The fifteen miles from my house
To where my ex-wife keeps my children.
When I got there
I rang the doorbell.
Rang it again.
Turned the key in the lock
And let myself in.
Just empty and fetid rooms,
A smell familiar but peculiar.
Called her cellular.
I then wandered through the rooms,
Unaware of time,
My heart beating in my ears.
Staring at dishes moldering in the kitchen sink,
The children’s unmade beds,
A bath towel on the hallway floor.
Another Sunday morning, just the same.
Tried calling a third time with the same result.
I left there,
Drove to the diner, about 9:30 A.M.,
Just before the crowd comes in from church.
The sun was withering hatred on the back of my neck
As I ascended the steps.
I looked up –
The clouds were writhing.
I looked down –
The cement grimaced in agony.
I went in and was seated
And as I looked at the faces of those around me,
My face wet and scarlet,
Trying not to make a sound,
I noticed that every face was
Exactly the same.
John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. www.fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.