It Won’t Kill You

An old one…

The remake of King Kong opened this weekend.
Millions of Americans stuffed themselves into theaters to see it
and my wife wants to see it.
And she wants me to go with her.

Me?!

I told her, “baby, if I go in there
I won’t come out alive.”
The sound of all that breathing.
The conversations you overhear on the way out.
The way people so easily turn off their minds
and laugh, and cry, and shout out in fear.
“Please, baby, anything but that.”

She turned her head, shook it. “You never want
to go out anymore… it’s a chore just to get
you out of your damn chair.”

She doesn’t understand,
movie theaters scare me.
The crush of humanity.
The deadening of souls.
The iron fist of capitalism pounding on your brain…
Singing licorice.
Dancing Popcorn.

“Don’t make me do it.”

The look on my face made her laugh,
but her laugh was one of righteous repose.
Under the scathing kitchen light I shriveled up,
thinking that maybe it was me;
Me against the world
and King Kong
and my wife,
and everybody else is right,
everybody else is normal.

“Will it really make you happy?” I asked.
She pretended to have no stake in the answer,
as if her happiness was inconsequential.

Most men’s wars are their women’s burden.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Do what you want.”
She pulled open the refrigerator door and looked inside.
There was half a gallon of milk, a bottle of pasta sauce,
and some leftover Chinese food.

“I’ll go, ” I said. “How bad can it be?”

She picked up the Chinese food, looked inside,
and then set it down. “It’s just a move,” she said.
“It won’t kill you.”

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