Punchlines and Apologies
by Abner Dormiendo
Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange
who? If you’re waiting for a punch line,
I’m telling you right now, there’s none. So there’s
the door, thank you for coming, please close it
when you leave. Let someone else do the knocking
this time around, my knucklebones are already
sore. Knock knock. Who’s there? Forgiveness.
Knock knock. Who’s there? The memory.
The memory who? That afternoon. No,
I don’t want you entering my house again, leaving
mud tracks all over my floor again with those
big boots of yours. I don’t want you bumping
your big body against the cabinet of china and
breaking them and then telling me it was
an accident. Accident my ass. Sorry, my ass.
Let’s be real here, you’re not sorry at all.
You’d still probably enter the backdoor even if
I kept my front door locked. Or you’ll barge in
with a battering ram and say I’m home, where’s
the sinner? I have holy water, I will absolve him,
but see, I’m not the only one who should burn
in this circle of hell. Sure, I forgot the color
of the shirt you were wearing that day we met,
it’s probably orange, because I know that’s your
favorite color. See? I remember a lot of things,
so don’t act all holy yourself. Knock knock. Stop
knocking, there’s the doorbell, use it. But darling,
memories don’t have fingers. They have knuckles.
Big, meaty knuckles and every night they beat the crap
out of my sleepless soul. I hope you’re happy. I hope
you’re somewhere sunny and laughing with a glass
of margarita in hand, in your swimsuit with another man
you think you can break. And I hope he breaks you
instead, and when he does, I hope you have enough cash
to buy sleeping pills because darling, it’s hard being
a victim of a violence so silent, so private, it cannot
be anybody else but mine. But I own nothing
but my eyes and this house and that door and this
doormat and let’s be real here, I still want you
by my porch, shirt drenched in rain, leaking
apologies from the holes in the roof of your mouth,
I’m sorry for what I did. I’m not sorry for what I did
but I’m sorry if it made you feel bad. I want to go
inside now and change my shirt. Shirt who?
The orange one. The one I wore that day, you were
right all along, stop right there. I’m not laughing
anymore. This show is a joke. Where’s the exit,
I want out. But the doors are locked, and I’m not sure
if it was you and not me who locked it in the first place.
I didn’t finish Day 9 on time, and I had difficulty doing it anyway (the prompt: a poem out of the first five song titles in your random playlist and it as hard), so have a first draft of a poem I wrote out of nowhere. I’m planning on revising it, and maybe you want to offer some points? Yes? Anyone? *crickets*
PS: I’m counting this as the first of the three non-prompt privileges I give myself every NaPoWriMo season. So, two remaining.