Tuesday Poem

The Factory

These were her father’s last words: “I have a dread of chaos in my heart.”
Or, “I have a dread of the chaos in my heart.” The two others present–
her mother, her brother—and she later cannot agree. It was perhaps

a critique of the cryptic vehicles of concealment—symmetry and white noise,
city blocks and hinterlands—she thinks now, as she watches her son watch
a praying mantis watch a caterpillar. The caterpillar is famously playing

dead. Suddenly she wonders if her father is watching her
watching her son watching the praying mantis watching the caterpillar
playing dead. Windows within windows within something window-shaped.
“Kilroy was here” means he’s not anymore—a kind of geometry nobody
cannot configure. She imagines her father working, somewhere, in a factory
that churns out checkerboards, one after another, black and red,

ordinate and abscissa, drawing the axis between obsess and abyss.
Confess and confuse: there is a blind spot in her blind spot in the shape of
a heart in chaos, or chaos in a heart, red on black, or vice versa.

by Jessica Goodfellow
from Thrush Poetry Journal, March 2010