December 2016

Stockholm Syndrome

Cathy Allman

My husband wandered
to the grill section, while I
perused lamps. I carried a broom
and fertilizer and tried
to find him. Every man,
down every aisle, had gray hair,
Bermuda shorts, T-shirt, ball cap,
and little round beer belly,
but they weren’t him.

We’re building what might be our last
home before the assisted living years.
My decorator sends me designs—
all chrome and mid-century
modern. I want a fireplace. She says,
It’s Floridayou don’t need the heat.

I tell her I like old things—
wood and chandeliers with crystal.
I’m okay with tarnished brass.
I need my coffee tables to endure
wet glass rings, hot mugs.
This millennium skews modern,
stays ahead of the curve—albeit retro.
But gravity to me, in these years,
is not forward momentum.
I’m tired, I accept where things sag
or tear, I ignore chipped paint—
all the evidence of damage,
and the thief who ransoms my time.