I’ll Take The TV Ending, Please ~ Laynie Tzena

I was certain it was safe
so you came in the window,
and while I learned
how to recover
from an earthquake that might
not visit again in my lifetime
you were making decisions,

removing the last ten years,
packing them into my bags
and taking them into
your own afternoon,
leaving me a frame
with no picture in it.

You took your time,
it seems, you took my clock,
my brand new umbrella,
shoes from my trip,
and I have such an odd foot

who knows where they landed?  And I didn’t
get robbed on vacation, another quirk.
I was home a week.  Frank was always after me
to make an earthquake kit,

so I sat there trying to be good,
learning how to prepare
for a possible future

while you turned my present
into my past.  At first I thought

I didn’t have a clue, but now

I remember my mind kept wandering,

probably following you,
in perfect motion,

searching my apartment. I heard the man
from the fire department
say that when the big one comes

they won’t be there.
Understaffed.  Overwhelmed.
Well, maybe that explains
the police, the woman sniffing

at my sorry
housekeeping when she arrived
two hours after I found you
gone, and the window
wedged open.  Maybe that explains

why she just looked
at the window, tapped
a minute, said she couldn’t close it,
didn’t try again, didn’t call
for backup.  When the man
came to fingerprint,

he closed it.  When I called
to have him fingerprint
more things I believed
you had handled,
he never called back.  When I called,
I learned the cops had half
a print.  No clues.  We’re working

on the ones with clues.  We’ll call
if we find anything.  That’s four times
more likely to be robbed, you are.  A cop
I asked for advice
said, Get a big gun.  Don’t leave
the house.  Other people said razor
wire, but then I learned

if you cut yourself
coming back, you can
sue me.  But I can’t
sue my landlord,
even though the guy
across the hall was robbed

four years ago (I’ve been here nine)
and no one told me.  So you helped
yourself, you took the calm
I always felt rushing
over me whenever I came in

before.  Now I’m awake
to every sudden sound,
leaving lights on and locking
my windows even when I’m here.

Which I’m not, really, I’m out
wondering about you.  Do I know you?
Some say I do.  Someone who

came to hear me sing.
Someone in the building.

Someone I met traveling.  I hate

to look around, I should throw out

the empty shoe boxes,
but then I might believe

this never happened,
and you might take that
as an invitation.  Friends say,

Don’t take it
personally, the loss
of my great-aunt’s gold
bracelet I loved

to hold in my hand
just to see the way
those rubies
caught the light.
I never wore it.

I was waiting for the right
occasion.  So you get to keep it
instead.  Pieces
I bought, places
I never saw again,
that might not even exist

today, and they really don’t
make them like that
now.  Stores are closed.
My things are gone.
You don’t even have them,
so they tell me,
a shot in the arm

was what you were after,
or nose candy,
and my past would do
the trick.  So what I thought
was safe
isn’t, and what I thought
was home

isn’t, so I’m out
in the world
not belonging, finding
others who’ve been robbed,
comparing notes, waiting
for someone to explain,

to reassure me, tell me
it never happened.  The earthquake
arrived, but not in the way
I planned, the information
they gave that day

scattered on the floor,
abandoned in the apartment
I thought was mine,
you thought was yours,

and you were right.  At least
you’ve got it now.  Not just the things,
maybe you got into a fight

and lost them, maybe
somebody rolled you, but

this is your home as well as mine

now, you have moved in

here, got what you wanted,
now I have to live

with you.
I tell myself
I won’t crack,

but I already did,
when I walked
up the old familiar stairs,
found my door open, saying,

Come on in,
there’s company.
Oh, no.
It’s empty.