blind, fold (Day 8)

under the table, but she, standing
offers me a drink
her voice melting ice
i nod, trembling,
as i am supposed to
the crash of a heavy tumbler on the floor
liquid droplets, broken gasp,
hold still, they tell me,
hold still, so we can clean it up,
hold still, so you won’t hurt yourself,
the sound of a broken tumbler, swept away,
pieces close to me, picked up by hand,
all the glass gone, though i can’t see it.

she’s not getting the response she needs
hours like this
talking, all the talking,
and no response
she knows she shouldn’t,
she knows it’s showy,
she knows it’s not controlled,
but most of all,
she knows she would never do it,
which is precisely why she
lifts the tumbler high,
and lets it fall.
a smile – disbelief.
hold still, the director says

they meet beforehand
they have to meet
this isn’t working
days of tactics:
blindfolds, threats,
intimidations and intimations,
the endless streams of words –
but they need something more
i have an idea, he says
no one gets hurt, he says
but it’ll show that anything can happen

it’s later,
muscle memory
the only thing
carrying me home,
that i realize
that no one
took the blind
fold off.

the night the director
will show off his creation,
he cuts my hair
patchy, chunky, haphazard
his gestures almost tender,
closer than we would be
or have reason to be
and i think to ask him
it’s only he and i now
i take in a breath to ask him
hold still, he says

under the table
blindfolded and barefoot again
each of us playing our role
and i could stop it
if i just said
but she asks me for a drink
she’s nervous – we’re still learning our parts –
when the glass falls from her hands
and shatters on the floor
they scramble to clean it up
hold still, they tell me
hold still, so we can clean it up
hold still, so you won’t hurt yourself
they’re so intent
on keeping me safe,
they never think
to take my
blindfold off,
not until
the glass
is gone.


prompt: from Harold Abramowitz’s prompt, which asks us to write six versions of something we don’t remember completely.

source: after a couple of other attempts that may make for some interesting poetry for another time, i settled on this idea – an evening at a rehearsal for Harold Pinter’s One for the Road (in 1994) where a glass was dropped for seemingly innocent reasons that also proved highly effective in motivating me — so effective that i grew to wonder about what really happened in that moment.

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2 Responses to blind, fold (Day 8)

  1. quillfyre says:

    I find in the various poem versions a sense of the breathless helplessness that might overtake one as the glass is falling: you can’t stop it, you aren’t sure what will happen, you hold your breath waiting for impact…. and afterward can’t quite remember exactly….

    • i really appreciate that response. there’s a certain feel of rewinding that i enjoyed playing with in this prompt – and trying to imagine what i simply couldn’t see. that unstoppable feeling is definitely there. thank you!

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