The white bowls in the orderly cupboards filled with nothing. The sound of applause in running water. All those who've drowned in oceans, all who've drowned in pools, in ponds, the small family together in the car hit head on. The pantry full of lilies, the lobsters scratching to get out of the pot, and God being pulled across the heavens in a burning car. The recipes like confessions. The confessions like songs. The sun. The bomb. The white bowls in the orderly cupboards filled with blood. I wanted something simple, and domestic. A kitchen song. They were just driving along. Dad turned the radio off, and Mom turned it back on.
Like the human brain, which organizes
The swirls and shades of the bathroom tiles
Into faces, faces
Of exhaustion, of disdain. The
Virgin Mary in the toast of course
But also the penance in the pain, and the way
My mother invented
Plums and tissue paper, while
My father invented the type of
That takes you by surprise
When you’ve expected to be chastised
And makes you cry
|About this poem:|
"The poem's impulse is the same as the poem's subject—a grappling, out of hope?—with the idea that there must be some way to integrate into one's life, if necessary, the experience of physical pain. If I can make out faces and objects every morning (if I stare long enough) at the bathroom tile—or so I was thinking—surely there would be a way to make meaning out of this pain?"