Published on Academy of American Poets (

Questions In The Mind Of A Poet While She Washes Her Floors

Will obedience leave me unknown to myself, stranded?

Is it enough for me to know where I'm from?

If I do more truth-telling will I be happier with what I say?

If I had three days to live would I still be sensible?

Is the break between my feelings and my memory 
the reason I'm unable to sustain rage?

Am I a peninsula slowly turning into an island?

If I grew up gazing at the ocean would I think
life came in waves?

If I were a nomad would I measure time
by the length of a footstep?

If I can see a cup drop to the floor and shatter
why can't I see it gather itself back together?

If a surgeon cut out my mistakes
would the scar be under my heart?

How much time will I spend protecting myself
from what the people I love call love?

Would my desires feel different if I lived forever?

Will my desires destroy my politics?

Is taboo sex the ultimate aphrodisiac?

If I fall in love with the wrong person
How do I learn to un-in love myself?

Can I make my intuition into a divining rod?

Is music the closest I can get to God?

How many of these questions will remain
when I kneel to wash my floors again?


From Mercy Mercy Me by Elena Georgiou. Copyright © 2000. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.


Elena Georgiou

Elena Georgiou is the author of Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants (Harbor Mountain Press, 2009) and mercy mercy me (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000).

Date Published: 2000-01-01

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