This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

By Kevin Brown

Because I washed my ties,
all of them,
all at once,
opened the washer to find a knot

that could never be undone,
a knot that looked to me like nothing
more than money
I had spent over the years to buy them.

Because you ironed three shirts
on the dining room table,
not knowing you would remove them
and the towel beneath to find a pattern

that looked like someone had spilt skim milk,
not quite white, white-ish,
not a pattern that looked like anything,
so we don’t even have a good story to tell.

Because I try to go a month between
mowings, grass so long small animals
hide from predators,
matches the weeds you don’t pull
from the flower beds.

Because I replaced whatever exists in the back of a toilet
on two of ours, and one works fine
and neither of them allow water to run—
that snake-like hiss that I heard in my sleep—

but one works only nine
(maybe eight)
times out of ten,
causing us to flush twice for the tenth
(maybe eleventh)
time, probably using more water than before,
feeling better about it, but not good.

Because Christmas decorations are piled downstairs
where no one goes,
and it’s September,
Santa’s smile welcoming fall for us,

and there is a Starbucks cup
that has sat in our garage
for three years now,
but I don’t want to say anything about either

because I want to wait until you notice,
until it bothers you as much as it bothers me—
a slow drip barely noticeable
until it is, a slow seeping of water—
an approach, like the toilet
repair, that will never work as I want.