"Ritual" by Cord Moreski

Franky can’t live with the idea of hurting somebody.   

So every morning before work, he performs a ritual.    

First, he starts in the kitchen with the stovetop oven  

sniffing the air for gas and checking that the dials are off.   

Next, he unplugs the toaster, the slow cooker, and the juicer,

measuring that each wire is exactly six inches from any outlet.

Until finally, he inspects the bulbs of the crystal chandelier     

hanging over the dinner table, the wall lights in the hallway,    

and the several table lamps scattered in the living room,  

snapping them each OFF then ON then OFF again  

as if he is signaling his own distress.  

And most of the time he has to start all over again.    

And most of the time he forgets to say goodbye     

to his wife and children as they sleep through his compulsions.

He is too busy protecting them anyway.     

Franky can’t live with the idea of hurting somebody.  

"Wrinkles" by Cord Moreski

He tells her about the affair

and she rushes into the bedroom

 

her body language   

untranslatable.    

  

She heads for the closet

with an open suitcase on the bed

 

he leans against the doorway     

as she gathers her clothes.   

 

She doesn’t blink a tear

he doesn’t utter a word

 

the case clamps shut     

on parts of a rumpled blouse.  

  

She stares at the garment's creases    

and then back at him     

 

before she finally storms past

slamming the front door behind her—   

 

she’ll iron out  

the wrinkles tomorrow.