Sit in the kitchen, sounds from downstairs, chairs across floors,
to my left, a woman sleeps, to my right, a girl sings,
to the east, parents, inside a great divide, dreams where past
hurts come out to play and take off their careful masks,
to the west, the sun has already set, beckoning me to name
the night again, and so I come to listen.
Sit in the kitchen, voices downstairs, movement there
not related to me in any way except we share a roof,
and to my belly, a tightness, and to my throat, a tickle,
to the long-gone afternoon, clean sheets and quilt
heavy draped over naked bodies and words like
“writhing with calligraphy” in our new out-loud book.
Sit in the kitchen, surely a serious look on my face,
the one I’m critical of in a mirror but come
to trust that the only true mirror is the one
she holds so steadily before me, or a friend,
running alongside, offers with wise speech
that keeps me from going off the rails completely.
Sit in the kitchen, meting out a few lines,
six lines per stanza, an accident, an intention,
how we say we’re “doing our best” and it’s true,
at our best that is true, and at our worst,
delusion pure and simple. The sap is flowing
and soon we’ll have syrup enough for four seasons.
Sit in the kitchen, fingers flying for no reason
other than the urge to translate what’s ineffable
into something feelable. The luck of this draw
is cause for a deep breath, a pause, a wish
and a prayer for all those who suffer, beginning
with me and knowing death’s inevitable.
Sit in the kitchen, sounds creeping into crevices
between upstairs and downstairs floorboards,
a girl’s voice in a southwest corner of the house
lifts and falls, a girl in the southwest, would that
she’d fall into her mother’s arms, swift and sure
she belongs there, in the mountainous holding
place of forever love.
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