Monday, May 19, 2014

The Interview

I grab a copy of my poem and run out the door, I'm late. It's a nice spring day, a really hot spring day. As I start walking across the street I see my across-the-street-diagonal neighbors cutting a freakishly large amount of wood in the middle of their front yard with a circular saw. Having absolutely no clue what that's about I keep walking. I get to about the middle of the road when I realize that I forgot shoes and black pavement is really, really hot. I run the rest of the way across the street. I walk to the front door, past the well kept lawn, pots of flowers and a ceramic frog sitting on a rock holding a welcome sign. I reach the front door and ring the doorbell. I can hear the grandfather clock themed bell echo through the house. As I wait I stare contemplatively at the frog trying to decide whether his smile is creepy or cute. I was leaning towards cute when the heavy, wooden door whooshes open. I look up and smile at the familiar face of my neighbor, Ms. Hessilus.

She's wearing a button-down white shirt with bunches of red and blue flowers and a red coral necklace that matches the red on her shirt perfectly. She says that that she hasn't seen me in a while then corrects herself and says that she has seen me just not talked to me. I agree and say that it has been quite a school year. Luckily she doesn't notice my lack of shoes. She leads me past the grandfather clock, through the hall and to the kitchen table where we sit across from each other. The room smells of baking and general cleanness.  There's a purple vase of purple and yellow fake flowers in the middle of the table which I gently move to the side. We make small talk at first in which she asks about my sister and her impending graduation and the family in general. When we are almost ready to begin I explain the assignment to her. I get my handy-dandy phone out and press the record button. The interview is ready to begin.

I ask her to read the poem I have been studying and slide the copy of the poem across the table to her. As she reads I hear the gentle hum of her refrigerator and stare out the window at the cars, thinly veiled by trees, rushing past on the main road behind her house. She looks up from the poem and asks if it's suppose to rhyme. I say no it's not because it is a free verse poem. She goes back to reading and I go back to staring out the window. After a while the window gets boring so I study the tablecloth. The tablecloth is vinyl with various herbs drawn and labeled on it. I look up when she pushes the paper back across the table saying that it was a interesting poem but it had a cliff hanger ending. Having read the poem plenty of times I know it did not so I ask if she knew there was a second page. She didn't know. The paper slides back across the table to her and the reading continues. I study the tablecloth again and learn that the makers of the tablecloth consider mint tea to be an herb. I search for mint but it isn't on there. Mint tea it is then. When I look up she is done reading the poem.

I ask her what she thought of the poem. She says that it is different and that she has not read a poem like this before. I ask her what she means. She means that all the poems that she is use to are rhyming and this one isn't. I ask if she finds anything confusing about the poem and she says that she didn't follow the story. I say that the author's backstory might help since the poem is based on a very real event from his life. So I explain Taha Muhammad Ali's story with Amira, his bride to be, the burning of his village, the border crossing, the border crossing back, him leaving Amira and finally him seeing Amira again. When I finish she says that the poem now is like the ending of a perfect romance movie and that she loves seeing people reunited. I agree and ask if the poem is confusing anymore and she says no the story cleared it up. So we talk more about Taha's life and poems and romanic movies. I pitch her the idea for my metaphor and item which she approves. The interview is over.