matt pond PA

April 24, 2019

A Chewed-up Question Key.


I only left the living room long enough to grab a cup of coffee in the kitchen. In that brief moment, the dog must’ve licked my laptop’s keyboard, loved and lifted the question key. I noticed the empty space immediately — I live in “the why” like a way of life and I’ve learned to follow the forward slash as if it were pulling me through the woods, through arrowwood and maidenhair fern, leaning into a sprint along dank spring trails.

But now: All my questions declarations, all my running rendered with awkwardly perfect British posture.

By my feet, the key was broken and adrift on an oak floor sea. I looked into her mascara-lined eyes and asked why. Then we both laughed.

I don’t want to blame anyone else for what’s wrong with my life. Yet there are broken threads in my pillow that I know weren’t there last night. There are lemon juice admissions from an alternate dimension written on my Home Depot receipts. Some higher force has stolen the symbol that I rely upon the most.

On the ground, a chewed-up remnant. I pick it up and try to push it back in. The key does not fit in the same way most wooden block puzzles are impossible — the jamming and hurling I generally administer, the smashing and the stuffing that has continued to make me perennially special. An empty space where my right ring finger used to disbelieve with passionate clicks.

The question key was my everything. It defined the search with its rotund top, it welcomed the answer in its periodic dot, always begging for more and never responding until 3:30 am — when the final Tuesday night stragglers get all they can from the wasteland of Wednesday morning. Soft rain on falling white blossoms, lush new leaves borrowing the glow from weatherworn street lamps.

I now leave my questions in the air, a skein of wool unraveling in the guest bedroom. Or old leaves caught in fresh spring breezes, floating by the window — terrified, wrinkled and free.

Whispering the wonder, shouldering my soft accusations on Bob Seger’s thunder. The question key is gone, yet these examining, intrapersonal conversations go on and on and on — My lips moving from a memory building in real time.