James Tate
"Honey, Can You Hear Me?"

Alison stared into the mirror and combed her hair.  How
beautiful she was!  “I look awful,” she said.  I bent down and
tied my shoe and hit my head on the coffee table on the way up.
“Ouch,” I said.  “What did you say, honey?” she said.  “I said
we ought to buy a new couch,” I said.  “I thought we just bought
one,” she said.  “We could buy another one so we’d have a back-up
in case anything happens to this one,” I said.  She didn’t answer
me, but continued to brush her hair.  I stared down at my shoes
and said, “Something is so wrong there.”  “What did you say, honey?”
she said.  I said, “It will be wonderful to be there tonight.”
“Where’s that, honey?” she said.  “Wherever it is that we’re going,”
I said.  “We’re not going anywhere,” she said.  “I meant here.  It
will be wonderful to be here tonight,” I said.  “A little romantic
night at home,” she said.  What did she mean by “nomadic”?  A little
nomadic night at home.  There were times when I worried about
Alison.  She hovered right on the borderline, about to cross over into
her own private realm, where nothing she sees or hears corresponds
to anything in the known world.  I live with this fear daily.  My
shoes are on the wrong feet, or so it seems to me now.