Even as an embryo, she made room for "the other guy." Slick and bloody, she emerged quietly: Why spoil the doctor's best moment? When Dad ran over her tricycle, she smiled, and when Mom drowned her kittens, she curtsied, a Swiss statuette. Her teachers liked the way she sat at her desk, composed as yesterday's news. In high school she decorated her locker with heart-shaped doilies and only went so far, a cartoon kiss at the door. She read the classics, The Glamorous Dolly Madison, and dreamed of marrying the boy in the choir whose voice never changed. Wedding photos reveal a waterfall where her face should be. Her husband admired how she bound her feet to buff the linoleum. When she got old, she remembered to say pardon to the children she no longer recognized, smiling sons and daughters who sat at her bedside watching her fade to a wink.
Maxine Chernoff - 1952-
[without a listener]
a voice speaks to rheumy stars deadpan witness no call and response or supplicant's hope all this hurts the ocean suggests as if waves could privilege ear's dumb gestures or a ghost of a sentence learn to read its own dried ink