Kitchen Still Life
Dressed in Mom's white cannery uniform
(this in memory smells always of plucked chickens),
she stayed three years after I left
sitting at the table in the kitchen on Pebble Street
there, among dishes stacked neatly on the counter
smeared with last night's fish, and the massive
its huge gas tits covered by pots.
What were her thoughts as she gazed out the window,
hands in a bowl of green lettuce
washing single leaves for supper?
Did she think it might go on forever
days spent tuned to a punch clock,
nights wet with summer-boiled sheets?
The grandfather clocks heard clicking in unison
pages of newspaper under the cigarette machine catch
tobacco crumbs rolled over & over.
Three booksthe Bible, a dictionary, The
Crucifixes over every bed.
Did she notice how, too, the old sink in the corner
stood on stilts like the house of Baba Yaga
(they told us the story) stood on Old World chicken