Saturday, July 11, 2009

Four Spoons (a revisiting)


I drink a Manhattan,

eat a plate of nachos,

smoke a cigarette.


Everything I say

I say for real this time,

my second, my endless chance,

and with gusto.


already I am an old woman,

fingers furled, milky eyes,

wandering around this fine home,

collecting spoons (you know those collections?)

asleep with a book by midnight.


cold in the month of June

all around you radiance grows,

the sky bottoms out in your eyes.

you will not answer your phone,

you will not answer me this.

but I never called.

I will be what I am

and you will in your time

be what you are.

Even still,

you will want to please me,

you will want to ease me,

you will learn to pray.


My mother was a pirate

my father, a spade,

the night I came to be.


Heat on the lungs

means grief.

I watch him die

his body turn inward,

and the heat go out of him.

And at the funeral a woman says,

my you have the nicest hair.

Don’t I know?


I get on my knees,

the floor is wood, rough

wood, we pulled up the

linoleum to get to it.

I get on my knees

this morning.


Where I’m from

the men get shaved clean and slick their hair.

The women drink cans of beer

and watch the men grow prettier by the year.

And there’s many a woman in these parts,

homesteading it alone,

smart as whips, lickity split, chop a cord of wood.


The sparrow of your willingness

an unfed greed

called the grace from me.

From you I took four spoons,

a garlic masher, a pot for boiling.

I saw you whispering

near the creek and went closer

to hear you say:

I will be humble,

I will be humble,

and learn to grieve

what’s not forgiven.

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