Wooden Lady

by: Lauren Gordon

Article 2

I am not enough. And in the den, my mother distilled
perfume from fear and when that splintered, I swallowed
like the baby, like the baby’s shrillness. My skin shivers like wood
my own mother moving in opposite directions. I do the dishes,
if you know what I mean, I do them. Retreat, retread
the carpet from the pacing, so much prescribed pacing.
Are these my knuckles? This could not have been the cinching
of my life. That I do not recall.


Your father smokes in the backyard
through the window
a thin stream of blue
between his fingers
feet pointed north he says it’s manly
like the steering wheel of a ship
laminate cuffs pegged
shims &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; fix-its I-beams
the epoxy hardens the belief
of death &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; which wafts
who are we kidding here? Darlings
someone will die here
your mother will die here
a woman will die here
a hymn &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; a hymn &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;for mouths
whisper &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; mama
in the split level
she is Venus and
the hymns fly around her
like dandelion fuzz &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;wisp
whirl &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; and it is all she thinks of
bless her &nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp;&nsbp; but the baby
is just a girl, just a baby, a girl.