Your knives tip down
in the dish rack
of the replica plantation home,
you wash hands
with soaps pressed into seahorses
and scallop shells white
to match your guest towels,
and, like an escargot fork,
you have found the dimensions
small enough to break
a wet rag,
a bullet on the back of the cup
like a bishop or an armless knight
of the Ku Klux Klan
through your nighttime window
plays a song you admire,
outside a ring of concertina wire
circles around a small collapse.
America, ignore the window and look at your lap:
even your dinner napkins are on fire.
Copyright © 2014 by Solmaz Sharif. Previously appeared in conjunction with Craft and Folk Art Museum's "Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction" exhibit. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.
Solmaz Sharif’s first poetry collection, LOOK (Graywolf Press, 2016), was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry.
Date Published: 2016-04-27
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/mess-hall