American Poet

Traces

Sometimes I have delusions
of total recall, tyrannical, crazy.

Crazy is what I thought years ago,
“You’re crazy!”
when I built a home
over my father’s bulldozed house.

Nothing’s ever lost to me,
certainly not the arsonned pieces of that place
that erupt like clocks
in the rockiness of my yard.

Yesterday, yellowed linoleum
bloomed in the herb garden-
his much-scrubbed kitchen tile;

and this morning, by the door,
I found a porcelain shard,
part of the upstairs bath.

Commonplace relics,
they hide themselves in a common grave,
then, break out on my path;

they bide their time, they just won’t quit,
not while I live-
burnt scraps, artifacts, detritus-
they’re memory’s arsenal
stockpiled under sumac and ferns…

A bit of blue China makes me shiver,

its graceful willow
drooping over two fishermen
pacing a broken blue bridge,

once the perfect world
I pushed and poked mashed turnips around-

Oh, unfathomable figures
so displaced below me,
so fixed in their pitiless purposes!

Gail Mazur, from Zeppo’s First Wife

Gail Mazur at The Poetry Center

Gail Mazur at The Poetry Foundation

Books by Gail Mazur at Google Books

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