Scattered with nebulous crockery we talk mothers
their grief, their limpid yearning. Your father is to my father
only quantitatively. His grandmother and her worried son
frantic across the rutted old table.
Our earnest faith constructs so much glaring,
translucent joy. I do describe his shoestring body and lie
when I wish his wife would leave him.
Everything here has broken,
the ragged metal pots and pans which seem
to crumble, the white frilled bowl like a cockle shell
was left heaped with rice, the other
broke easily when it fell. Her things came
packed poorly in lacerated cardboard and powdered glass
so that much was unidentifiable, and there is a burnt-in gap
to this smooth brass band in the warm china. Everything
broke, first because it was cheap or old or dropped,
or wrapped hastily in sparse newsprint, or because
she grew afraid, towards the end of her life, of residue even, of death.
Claire Adler was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, a fact which she now reluctantly allows to define her entire personality. She attends Barnard College, where she writes poetry in between arguing about gender and baking bread.