will the red hand throw me?
1. Though our radiator is painted the color of the walls we know he's there. Whatever we set on top of him bursts angrily into flame. He has come to be known as Petulant. He has come to be known as Wasted Space. To be contrary, the radiator will not heat us when we need it. "If only I could find his fucking face," I say to her (who sleeps beside me), "I'd stick something in his eye. I'd stick this in his eye." And I hold out a fork. Night has grown up around us and this luminous fork is our only light. 2. By the light of our luminous fork I see the old Mexican shortwave radio weeping on the corner. All her tubes are cracked and it is late in the century. No one will be putting on a hat and boots to find tubes for her, because they can't be found. She is like the last auk in its cage with a shattered wishbone, while the naturalists were helpless and could offer to bring it something, again and again. She is like the last passenger pigeon when it realized it was the last passenger pigeon. We don't notice her anymore. "God's curse on you for ignoring me," she used to moan at night. Now she only weeps or says her prayers, but either way we can't hear her because her tubes are withered and it is late in the century. 3. The luminous fork is also worthy of investigation: Our grandparents cannot remember when the luminous fork first came into their lives. It was prefigured by the tools of Poseidon and Michael. It has appeared in my poems before. It is the last of the luminous flatware and is lonely in our drawer. Imagine a luminous fork in the company of our silverware and their steely glances. Think about this fork who cannot share his secrets with the dark knives, who will never lie with the smooth spoons. The luminous fork knows that someday when I open the drawer I won't recognize him among the tarnished forks pointing at me, just as I am told one day there will come a knock at my door that I won't answer.
From A Hummock in the Malookas, by Matthew Rohrer, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 1995 by Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Born in 1970, Matthew Rohrer is the author of several poetry collections, including Surrounded by Friends (Wave Books, 2015), Rise Up (Wave Books, 2007), and A Hummock in the Malookas, which was selected by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series.
Date Published: 1995-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/will-red-hand-throw-me