Tantalus at the Fridge
Hey, come look at this, I call to Tantalus.
He strides in from the backyard, slams
the screen door, one hand rubbing
his sore neck. Ugh, I gesture to the open
refrigerator. What are we going to do
with all this? Standing behind me,
Tantalus takes hold of the door.
Butter lettuce leaks its memory of green
around the drawer. Old grapefruit puckers
and settles, squat against its pulp.
Unidentifiable cheese fuzzes mauve,
rubs the rough black ends of carrots.
He reaches a sunwarmed arm
around me, picks up the double IPA
from the eye-level shelf,
cracks it open with his belt buckle.
The door ricochets off my shoulder.
The bottlecap hits the linoleum floor.
You’re always doing this, I groan. From behind,
he lifts the cold glass to my lips. I sip.
Tantalus and the Broken Branch
There is a terrible storm coming down
the canyon, first one of the season.
Ashen clouds swell and bloom
over the mountain peaks. Tantalus stands
beneath our apple tree, next to its hard-earned
gnarl of trunk. I’d call him in,
but he never comes. Even the dog
is here, curled up on the living room floor.
The screen door creaks open and slams
with the prying of the wind. The apple’s branches
circle and bend, like fingers, like
the trunk is one long, rooted wrist. Tantalus
cranes his neck up at them, up
at the nest of huddled swallows,
beneath the heavy-bottomed raindrops
and the sky letting them fall through its hands.
Rain thrashes our storm windows. I can’t
see the mountains anymore for everything
falling. The door slams again. Hey,
Tantalus smiles, water all over
the linoleum floor, all over the dog
whose tail is now wagging the wet
everywhere. Tantalus holds a branch the size
of an infant, a little thing torn from
its mother, her hands. The wind took it
down, he says, barefoot in the puddle
he’s made. The dog walks wet pawprints
all around us. Tantalus twirls
the infant branch like a cone of cotton
candy. Fruitless, its blossoms
glisten and tremble. Little white cups,
dozens of them, catch lightning, drip.
Katherine Indermaur reads “Tantalus at the Fridge”
Katherine Indermaur reads “Tantalus and the Broken Branch”
Katherine Indermaur is the author of the chapbook Pulse (Ghost City Press, 2018), winner of the Black Warrior Review 2019 Poetry Contest and the 2018 Academy of American Poets Prize, and editor for Sugar House Review. She was named runner-up in the 92Y’s 2020 Discovery Poetry Contest by judges Jericho Brown, Paisley Rekdal, and Wendy Xu. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Coast|NoCoast, Colorado Review, Entropy, Frontier Poetry, Ghost Proposal, the Hunger, the Journal, New Delta Review, Oxidant|Engine, and elsewhere. She holds a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MFA from Colorado State University. She lives in Salt Lake City.