Life on the Surface
You borrow a cup of sugar
from the neighbors, knowing
they will never get it back
not completely, not even
if a slice of fresh baked
German chocolate cake is shared
in return, in gratitude, and yet
if they have it, it’s yours.
Next week they may need
two cups of flour and if you
have it to give, you give,
and still no one is keeping score.
During these unmeasured exchanges,
they may toot the horn of their beloved’s
achievements as you nod and smile,
never bringing up that someone
sounding a lot like them through the walls
has taken to midnight sobbing.
They will politely pretend not to notice
your puffy, bloodshot eyes as well.
Perhaps you may share a glass or two
of red wine and trite cliches
as facile lies go unscrutinized,
failing to not undress themselves
as somehow no one falls apart
in this fleeting reprieve from physics.
When parting, one of you will ask
the other – as if it matters –
if they have everything they need,
knowing the answer will be a
resounding yes, and yes, again,
a lie will go unchallenged as both
return to respective bubbles to bake
to be consumed with
scarcely a thought of gratitude.
Written for NaPoWriMo: Day 3 – I’m off-prompt today, as today’s prompt felt a bit too much like an Ikea furniture build for me. But go check it out for yourself if you like your prompts to be of the more involved variety.