There is something to learn everyday by Brien J. Dawson

There is something to learn everyday

Today I met with a man about buying an old painting.
This is the first time I have broken routine in three months.
The old man looks like a flag pole with flesh hanging from it.

He looked so old I was afraid he will fall apart like a card house. So
skinny and frail, yet his voice booming like a Burglar alarm, with a
distinct scratchiness, the same scratch of old Lady Day records, Coltrane
and Monk Live at the Five spot.

After we talked business, he told me how his wife had just died
and now that she is gone, he had no use for anything kinda beautiful.

Everything is ugly put up against that woman.
He says into his coffee cup.

Driving home, I thought about how it must feel to grow connected with
someone over years, like bone connects to bone after a break. What does it
feel like to love like that?

When I get home, I wipe off the virgin wall facing the front room window.
I find the stud by rapping my knuckle until I hear something solid. I drill
a hole and screw in a toggle. The painting already has a hanging wire. I
spend the rest of the night trying to make sure the painting is perfectly
balanced. I move it slightly, walk around the thrift store couch and stand
looking at it- no matter what direction I move it, it never appears level.

I was at it all evening, until I finally gave up and came to the conclusion
that one of my legs is longer than the other, because nothing looks level to

                – Brien J. Dawson
                    from Words Dance 10, Fall 2006
                    guest-edited by Jessica Dawson