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AR #58 Cover
number 58

by Doug Cox

Sweet Sweet Nothings

Repeat it enough & each word, each name sounds strange—
Mother. Father. Baby. Love. Every place you'll call home.
Though nothing but street signs & zip-codes ever change.

Say this snow, this packed traffic bearing gifts to exchange,
Turns to just more tracks churned to slush, lost as lots start to fill.
Say it enough & each brand, each tread looks stale & strange.

Then recall past takeoffs, touchdowns, baggage you claimed—
& admit those cufflinks, boxed letters & photos she gave you,
Mean nothing more than the present & postmarks must change.

Now, go further, say this valley, its hardpan foothill range,
Remains familiar, & home, its same fog lit-up in chemical haze.
Repeat it enough times & each trip feels less distant, less strange.

Yes, pretend this is all an act, these broken plans left to rearrange.
That you both came to this date, this pact, this split by mistake.
That only the terms, & these dear, sweet nothings have changed.

Go ahead, move past the ticket stubs & postcards you saved.
Bedsheets. Mascara. Stains the tired gray of trampled rain—
Dust settling over these shelves till even her face seems strange.

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