Tuesday Poem


One, two, three—is the ring of chairs around our daily
table the right size? Is it time to stretch open
or do right by? Is the operative term underfoot,
undercapitalized, or under duress?
Every room seems to have a ceiling mirror
and here we are: dressed up, dressed down,
hand to mouth, a spray of lonesome hair, a tuft
of camaraderie, a swag of hope, crown of thorns.
Are we headed for Lake Dry Dock or a wide green
barge on the Nile? If I had to choose,
what would I wish inside me from this month's love?
A stray fragrance, ravaged memory, safe
echo? Or a swoon of repeating cells,
an undertow of more? I'm not sure I can
look up from my plate. This morning's yolk
is glowing around a jot, a tiny knob of the possible
and my lap is yellow with longing.

by Ellen Doré Watson
from We Live in Bodies
Alice James Books, 1997