Wrecked World Poem
Your dishpan is quiet as a pond,
all the white ambition
shrunk to mild foam. You
have been away too long,
cups and plates tilt like glaciers.
Man: the toppler of worlds.
You wedge your hand
between what shifts
and slides, methodically
descend, layer by cool
layer, until your fingers crawl
along the smooth bottom,
This is where the knives lie,
mute battleships gone down
on their sides. How wonderful
to find them unaware
and then to pull one, nose
up, and up
until it hangs in the stunned air—
wrecker in a wrecked world.
Were you wrong to dredge it up?—
Is there not meat to cut, and pie?
Wrong to pour warm water
down the long length of its side,
to place it in the company of spoons,
who seem so soft, yet do not lie;
when you hold the knife
before one oblong eye—
concave or convex,
rightside up or upside down—
you see how the blade stretches,
from your head to heart,
so much bigger than you thought.
first published in Arts & Letters Journal of
Contemporary Culture, issue 5, Spring 2001