“How to Make Amends” by David James

David James


He was hungry, so he ate the couch, the one with the pull-out bed. Of course, when the wife came home, she was disgusted.

“Now what will we sit on, asshole? Last week it was the coffee table; the week before, two kitchen chairs and a lamp. What next, the bed?”

He hadn’t thought of eating the bed, but the idea was appealing. It probably would taste like sleep. Comfort food. He couldn’t respond to her–she was always right, so he went upstairs to lie down. Somehow, the bed knew what was coming. It shivered in fear. The man stroked the mattress, saying, “Don’t worry. I won’t eat you. I promise.” As the bed settled down, the man fell asleep and dreamed of eating the bed, mattress, baseboard, springs, pillows. He stuffed everything in his mouth, chewing, crunching, swallowing until he could no longer stand up. He laid there on the floor in the bedroom. When his wife came home after work, she undressed, climbed on top of him, slid under some loose sheets and slept. His chest rose and fell in time to her steady breathing. Wrapping himself around her, he knew she would be next. He would eat her and finally there would be peace between them, which was all he ever really wanted.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004


David James: “As I reach the half-century mark in September, I see more clearly how important each day is, each poem, each kiss. In fact, I like to think of each day as a poem, each poem as a kiss, each kiss as a chance to get it right, again.” (web)

Rattle Logo