Oct/Nov 2005 Poetry Special Feature

From the percolator

by Arlene Ang

From the percolator

to the pepper mill, to the stovetop
& the tributary guilt of this moment,

I am lost in the eastern hemisphere,
that porchlight in the body called

aftermath; here kitchen is blackbird,
thistledown & apricot nail polish,

what I remember of Narcissus—
soft goosedown eyes, a cruel mouth.

He is dead. Water reflects flammable
objects: the Celtic cross spread

with its first upturned card, La Mort;
a page torn from the apocryphal book

of hope; silhouettes dressing in the dark.
Grief is inescapable, is fat man

& little boy, that sharp stainless knife
in the hands of the jazz musician

breathing erratically on a bedspread
of blood. I wipe what I spill: coffee,

sleeping pills, someone's jar of worms.
Sometimes I think of all the indignant

ex-spouses in everyone's lives
& try to collect lies like seashell pieces.

Sometimes I go so far as to stop looking
into holes. That black one. His sky.


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