Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kitchen Sink (everthing and the)

If I owned time (ran its manufacturing plant),

my days would span the Grand Canyon. I’d put away

these lines, stop straightening the world into boxed

sense. I’d sleep half the time, let dreams dominate

my days. Awake, I’d wash dishes after a banquet.

I’d wash and I’d wash. Washing the task I’d find

born to do.  The quiet clank and occasional clatter,

the warm soapy water under my bare hands,

reaching for the forks at the sink’s ceramic

bottom. I am a diver, finding in the dark what only

the dark should know. But now I know: the cheese

stuck between tines, the lettuce fragment that missed

scraping and compost, and finally, my hands swooping

again and again, searching for another dish, a missing

piece of ware to wash before it’s time to rest again.

And when I dream, I dream I’m washing dishes.

But in the dream, the dishes aren’t dishes, they’re

rabbits. The rabbits talk and feed us. They use spoons

that their dishwashing rabbits gather after meals

and clean in a tiny basin back in their rabbit hole.

The rabbits, though, need our care. They fit in the palm of my

hand. I have to be careful not to break, lose or drown

the rabbits. I kneel before the bowl I use as sink, then set

the first small rabbit out to dry, on the grass. He hops away.

I wash another and another, until I am wakened by the clink

of a dish, my feet aching with pleasure from standing

and washing and washing hundreds of dishes in my kitchen sink. 

Friday, October 2, 2009


He didn’t know what to do with himself. In the beginning and in the end. What’s the difference. There was nothing before the event, which opened up into a big, forever nothing. Here he sat, in the big empty stomach of the world, in a wide whale’s belly. He comforts himself (if you can call it that) by sitting in the rocker. It quietly creaks. No, no, no, no, no, no. Where is she now? he asks God or something. Where are all those bodies? What does fire change a body into? A pile of ash. They boxed up a portion for him, his wife’s name neatly taped to one side. Martinez, Beatrice. He puts his hands inside the box, pushes his fingers into the dust of the dead. He imagines his wife’s hands falling to pieces, pieces of her swirling around with pieces of the others. All those ashes, all those families starting to sift together, his wife not just his any more. All those wives, husbands, sons, daughters, orphans—a family of ash. They should’ve just finished the job right there where it started—in that hall—burned the dead into one mixed-up mountain of ash. They should’ve just shoveled all the stuff into a truck, made a mountain of it on the white bandstand platform in the city park. Leave it there. Who would want to dance again, anyway? It’s such a cold winter. And spring will never come, at this rate.