Tag Archives: Companionship

Good-Bye Clementine

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Clementine returned, thankfully.  And Boris moved out (or was eaten), thankfully.  Though Clementine’s company had been, in some sense, comforting to me, our dissimilar natures dictated that our relationship was not to last.  Sealing our fate was the fact that, after living with Clementine for three months, I had to move out in favor of paying tenants.  Moving from this drab little apartment felt traumatic to me because I had become accustomed to my situation and surroundings.  And I had found a silky, spindly-legged companion.  Clementine showed no emotion when I left, but hung unmoving, as always, in her corner.  I walked out, shut the door, and surrendered my key, leaving Clementine behind.

GOOD-BYE CLEMENTINE

Good-bye, Clementine.
I have to leave:
paying tenants, naturally,
take precedence. No doubt:
they will disinfect your corners,
wipe away your suspending threads;
they will squash you without
thought, flush you out
with swirling sewage.

What? No. You cannot come
with me. This is where you belong,
while you belong anywhere.

(Incredibly, the above-pictured spider appeared in my bathroom, in a corner of the ceiling near the shower, in the midst of my posting these Clementine poems.)

Clementine: A Scare

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When I came home from work one evening, Clementine was nowhere to be found.  But Boris hung in a corner of the shower insert.  He looked smug, and I immediately suspected him of foul play.  Fear and anger mixed as I both worried about Clementine and jumped to the conclusion that Boris was responsible for her disappearance.  As I said earlier, I didn’t like him from the start, and had no reason to trust him.  But something caused me to withhold the hand (and toilet tissue) of judgment and wait awhile to see if Clementine’s absence was temporary, and if I had misjudged.

CLEMENTINE: A SCARE

Boris?
Boris.
What have you done
with Clementine?

Clementine Brings a Friend

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(Photo by Laura Baker)

One day I discovered that Clementine had brought a friend to my shower stall.  Slightly smaller but of the same species, he hung in a corner not farm from Clementine’s habitual hangout.  I called him Boris, partly because I didn’t like him.  The name Boris morphed on my tongue into “boorish.”  I felt unabashedly jealous of this usurper, this intruder upon what I had naively assumed was the exclusivity of my relationship with Clementine.  I wanted Boris gone, but needed to be polite for Clementine’s sake.  All this was tongue in cheek, of course, but made for fun imagining, and a poem, during a melancholy time.  Boris didn’t stay long.  Perhaps Clementine ate him.  That suited me.

CLEMENTINE BRINGS A FRIEND

So, Clementine—
you have brought a friend—
And you are . . .
Boris?
Bo’-ris.
(You’re rather small.)
Of course, you can
visit for awhile.
Is there anything I can get
you, Bo’-ris?
Curds and whey? Well,
I’ll certainly see what I can do.
Won’t you
make yourself comfortable,
Bo’ris?
(Um, Clementine . . . )

Clementine: Gone

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(Photo by Laura Baker)

My last poem Clementine: Return would have made more sense had I first posted the poem Clementine: Gone.  Oh, well: I goofed.  As I suggested in my last post, when Clementine disappeared, I felt an intensified loneliness.  My only companion was gone, who knew where.  I hoped she would return, even though I thought it unlikely.  Clementine’s departure felt permanent, and I could not trust in the possibility that she would return.  Now you may understand better the ebullient tone of the previous poem, welcoming her upon her return.

CLEMENTINE: GONE

Spindly-legged spider—
I cannot see
where you have gone;
the corners are empty
in every room.

Clementine: Return

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(photograph by Laura Baker)

Clementine would disappear for days, and then reappear in the same or a different corner.  I could not see any web against the whiteness of the shower insert, but I knew a web must be there, for Clementine didn’t walk on the wall but seemed to walk in air close to the wall.  I wondered what she ate, for she was slow, spun no web to catch insects, and there were no insects (that I could see) for her to catch.  When she left I felt her absence, like after you say good-bye to a friend who has come to visit.  Her return always brought a strange sense of relief.

CLEMENTINE: RETURN

Welcome, Clementine!
I am glad
for your visit!
How I have hoped
you were well.
And here you are,
looking well!
Can you stay
awhile?
You left without notice
(you know),
and equally came.
But I am glad
for your visit!
Please, stay
awhile.
I am needing to go
to town this morning,
though. You’ll wait here
till I return?
Oh, good.
So glad
for your visit!