by Ava Leavell Haymon
Mrs. Calendar knocks on the door
of Chaos. She has her Coach bag
over one shoulder, car keys
clipped on, monthly scheduler,
a few bills she must remember
to drop off at the post office
on Bennington. She is on time.
It’s 9:30 to the minute.
Chaos is a little round house,
as usual. Mrs. Calendar hasn’t slept well,
but she should not be underestimated.
Her good friend has two weeks to live
and she wants to say the right thing.
She knocks louder. Chaos answers,
You may come in now. Mrs. Calendar’s
surprised to hear a voice.
You may come in, Chaos repeats,
but you have to come in backwards.
At that odd moment, wondering
what to do, Mrs. Calendar remembers
a recent dream: Moscow (a place
she’s never been), five days left
in the family vacation. A Russian woman
turns, looks straight into her eyes,
asks, What are you looking for here? The dream,
somehow, settles it. Mrs. Calendar acts
on the invitation of Chaos. She turns around
and backs in. Crossing the threshold, she breaks
into cartoon-figure parts — arms, purse, torso, etc.
Outside the door, her paper-scrap handwritten list
swoops zigzags toward the ground.
Mrs. Calendar had hoped Chaos would
be still so she could lie down and relax,
so she would think of what to say.
But Chaos itself begins
to split into dark blue and brown
like the separation of earth and waters.
Too much order here, says
the unconnected head of Mrs. Calendar:
Nobody knows what it means.
Chaos reminds Mrs. Calendar she must
give up everything to find something
to say. Mrs. Calendar reminds Chaos:
dying in two weeks is a calendar issue.