Jan/Feb 2008 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Antonia Clark

Photo by Steve Wing

In the Dead Woman's House

Floor sagging beneath my feet, I avoid the faded
cabbage roses peeling from the walls, cloudy mirrors,
vinyl chair seats cracked and split, a parody

of home, even as they lure me back, beg me
to see. Like a thief, I take jade earrings from a drawer,
the yellow vase I hated, a photo of the black dog.

The front door's locked, the key lost, leaving only
one exit. I watch her ashes drift over the abandoned
flower bed, the closest I can come to prayer.


Her Kitchen

lure of clove, ripe tomato, thyme, thick white
Woolworth mugs, steaming coffee swirled
with cream, chrome and cracked-ice vinyl chairs

my mother moved from sink to stove, murmuring
a litany of ingredients like prayer, by her own
admission a terrible cook who served up thick
gravies, burned cakes, tough dry meat

the dream kitchen only seems safe, has no exit,
so we eat and eat the food, praise the meal
fierce as her love—seared, bitter, overdone


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