Archivettes by Claire Adler


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.