Everything Loosens in the Kitchen
Broccoli florettes drain to yellow, jaundiced
by their long separation from the earth.
The refrigerator kicks out a new batch of ice
with a single percussive interjection.
We stopped talking back when we discarded all the lettuces.
I ask how long this is going to last. You don't reply.
We cinch off what's beyond ripe.
Winged ants emerge from under
the shoe molding, move in unison along
the grain of floorboards before smearing
like ink. They shadow a presence we'll never see.
This is no way to manage an infestation.
What finds its way in never makes it back out,
not without poisons and glue pads.
We set up a kiddie pool in the middle of the room.
We wade, you in flippers, me in goulashes.
We barter: no for yes, yes for maybe.
We roll maybes in our mouths like grapes.
I tell you I threw out my wedding dress.
You tell me you didn't really lose your ring.
The water grows colder and colder.
Light shoulders its way through the window.
We forget why we hauled in the pool in the first place.
We wonder what's for dinner.
The kitchen table flaunts its bare legs,
lustrous as the skin of an eggplant.
My hands were once smooth.
Your face is harder than wood.
We ladle polysyllabic words into the air:
respectable, insoluble, unexchangeable.
You tell me you thought we had a deal.
You've always been a bargain shopper.
We paint the walls with stale arguments.
Designer fixtures wash us in light,
diminish imperfections. We agree
to rise tomorrow like bread, to nourish.
We high five. We smack each other on the ass
and move back into far corners to where
we belong, our distance between us
thick and hard as an overgrown stalk.
from Guest Poet #2: Dana Guthrie Martin
Click here to read the first draft of "Everything Loosens in the Kitchen."