Saturday, November 06, 2010

That House

was built by my father, stone upon stone.

Later wood was laid on, and new stories

and rooms for all the children. A back gate

and an alcove. We were happy there.

In that house, deep in the walls,

termites were given

in marriage and were fruitful

and ate of the fruit of those trees

which built that house.

We noticed, bit by bit. Shavings

fell from the corners

where the walls met. The floors gave

gently when we stepped.

But we didn't mind. It's old,

we said. Old houses bend,

and lose things.

Then my father

dropped his match and

the flicker caught the dust

crumbling from the door

and crawled lightly

up the wall while we held

our breath and hoped

it wouldn't grow.

The den went first,

where we gathered. The coffee table sighed

and turned over, charring

in strips. We all left for our rooms.

It's not a hungry fire. It burns slowly,

one wall at a time. Smoke sticks

in our lungs, and the dust

falls grey like ash. Outside,

my father's well laps cold

under the earth. Soon,

soon it will all give way

but the stones.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Chewing a lot of cud these days...

...makes some rotten butter. Now there's a mixed metaphor.

These Distracted Prayers

Oh, my eyes
are on the carpet today. It's dirty,
full of worn threads and speckles of
spilled things and flattened by
my ragged feet, my ragged feet. Oh,

Oh, my feet
I'm ripping up today. They're filthy, worn
tough from walking over this floor and
walking over this floor and walking,
walking over this floor. Oh,

out you go, feet. Enough of you, little
ugly things, misshapen toes and dirt
in the nail-corners. Oh,

babies with hands like caterpillars curling up
when you touch them. Cats
curling up when you don't touch them, sleeping
for hours alone. Hands
in their listless mooning, searching
for lost keys.

I don't want tomorrow, I don't want tomorrow
to come now. I'm tired,

I'm tired. I don't want
tomorrow to come.

My nose slopes down from my eyes, always
in the way of anything, its tip. My mouth
I only see when I stick out my lip.