To Cheer You Up

I saw a squirrel on the tree outside. It was eating and looked
very pleased to have found again what had been set aside.

I turn up the thermostat before you get home, hoping
it will be warm when you walk in the door,
so you don’t put your cold feet on me.

The winter is long and the news is darker than the sky.
It is hard to keep going. Sometimes we get high
and lay on the couch with cynical minds,
draining our swamp one joke at a time.

When I don’t know what to say, when I have no words,
I cook meals with garlic and butter. You made
cookies that in my sadness I ate one after another.
At the last one I stopped, wondered, and then ate it too.

I saw a thousand crows fly overhead and I stopped
to watch them. I wish that we flocked,
an immense natural family, to find sleep,
together in a tree. I wish we moved instinctually,
in gusts and currents.
That night I sing about your black hair,
only to look over and find you crying.

You fall asleep with your feet in my lap,
your book on your chest. We should go to bed,
but I like it here and so I stay, reading,
and watching you breathe out your weary dreams.

In the morning, you make me coffee while I am still asleep,
disappear to your work, before I reach the horizon.
In your absence I always make the bed,
and clean up the dishes, hoping you’ll find cheer
In our quiet peaceful ways. I keep my eyes open,
hoping to find a stone or a feather everyday,
to hold in the palm of my hand and say,
look, I found this for you, to cheer you up.

Eric Anderson headshot

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a hardscrab scribbler and artist from South Seattle, clausing his way towards liberation and the decolonized mind. His work has appeared in the UCSC magazines Chinquapin 30 & 31, Red Wheelbarrow, and on The Moth stage.