The Kitchen III – Poem

The Kitchen III

Then there were the times he laid himself out
like a wet sweater on the kitchen floor,
flatout as an ironing board, arms
corpse-crossed against his chest, not like
he’d fallen, just settled there like sediment
undisturbed in a dirty cup. There was Mother
above him, clapping her hands in attempt
to stir him from sleep, clapping as she did
during the cooking day to rid the excess flour
from her fingers. Clapping as if to applaud
the neatness – always her favorite thing –
with which he rolled his body out
atop linoleum in a slim, submissive strip,
prepped to ascend later, vampire-style,
before his children tripped over him
on their way to the refrigerator, or the rise
of day turned up the heat and burned his skin.

The Kitchen I – Poem

The Kitchen I

I am one year closer to death.
On my birthday my father tells me this,
as we connect the pieces of track
to a super-raceway set, as we click together
each smooth strip to form a figure eight
that swirls across the kitchen floor.
He helps me guide the matchbox racer
through its twisting over linoleum,
its geometric mess some murky hell
into which we might flip. We study
for hours the speeding and slowing,
the skid and the spin, the restless gambling
with God. My father is like a god,
his grip on the joystick leaning in
to the inevitable, the slick swish past
the previously traveled, the one-more mile,
the one-last second. My father and I,
motoring one year closer to death.