Incomprehensibility has an enormous power over us in illness….
–Virginia Woolf [On Being Ill]
I am certain of only one thing—
I am a team a team of (n)one.
In the lineage, all things pass
through the kitchen, the mouth, origin
to the tribe. Smudged surfaces claim every trace
in the family cell— I moistened my tooth-brush,
it came back with germs of madness—
Verdant and wet, just this side of the doormat,
pale footsteps left at the ajar
of an argument. One June afternoon, a feud
erupted (in the frozen food section).
a baby cried out.
like a road side bomb.
I kept smiling at the cashier, thumbing bruise-less
fruits, counting the dated canned goods.
It took hostages, sealed windows,
taped my mouth shut
with sugar and pleasantries. I kid you not,
it pawned off my jewelry, blood diamonds
of /t/rust. I screamed out loud,
but nobody answered.
I need to mind what matters most—
My sister needing a phone call,
my husband an apology, the time to watch
my son fumble a soccer ball down a muddy field.
I am so clumsy
to the people I love. I’ve slid my tongue
on the sharp end of the conversation.
I am the form built to last, but made with
cheap labor and parts.
(Do you wanna trade your troubles for mine?—
yours are manageable, and state-of-the-art.)
The dog watches my son when I’m not home—
(I mean, home, but not).