By Janet Barry
Do not take too much stock of things, my dear, just don’t.
For what if you know exactly how many spoons you have,
and then one day there is one less, missing, so where did it go,
who took it? That kid who showed up at the party last week?
Your daughter’s latest boyfriend? Or your mother who,
you hate to admit it, is getting a little loopy these days,
smoking and pilfering? Or could it be that thin mole
that crawled naked through your dreams last night,
warning you that all that was yours was his, and his yours,
to reshape and rewrite in his own perfect, star-nosed image?
And what do you believe in my dear, what
do you believe? The way we grieve together?
The way we see the flattened, radiated coast of Sendai
and whip out our cell phones to text 90999?
The way we avoid eye contact with that ghetto trash
tramp stamp welfare mom slut? The way we bitch
about Congress and our thirty dollar co-pays and take comfort
in the story on the evening news about the stray dog, starved, saved?
The mole burrows deeper. The warmth of heart and lungs
heats his naked body.
And is it dinner time yet? Come on, I’m hungry. I’m walking the streets
looking for some noodle stand, Starbucks, some all night sushi spot
where I don’t know the language of chop-sticks or endangered tuna
and what will bring you contentment, my dear, what will bring you
contentment? The white winged flight of doves whispering
in your ears? The flight and fantasy of cheap vodka discreetly consumed
from the sacred triangle martini glass, holy chalice, holy grail?
Then let us tip the glass to each other, my dear, to each naked mole,
or is it a vole, that tunnels its way so persistently among the roots of things,
while we stab at each plump dumpling, so doughy, satisfying,
filled each day with the blood of lambs.
Janet Barry, a New Hampshire musician and poet, has works published or forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Rock + Sling, Damselfly Press, Off-the-Coast, Canary, and the Christian Science Monitor. She has twice been judge for Poetry Out Loud, and has received a Pushcart Nomination. Janet holds an MFA in poetry from New England College.