199 Readings


The rain smells of almonds and the surprise
of green snakes in the garden.
Owen sits in his high chair with a Babar
Cafe au lait bowl full of Malt-O-Meal, eats it all,
Pushing the bowl over the edge. Done.
It breaks into two pieces of jagged porcelain.
It was a gift I bought in Locarno
After the Charlie Chaplin festival

And the stranger I kissed by an unnamed canal.
The stranger, too, was unnamed, and we didn’t speak.
I didn’t know then, nor do I understand now
Why I followed him and why I opened my mouth,
                      for the pleasure of it.
Ten years before Owen was born.
I give him gifts he knows nothing of,
Will never be remembered.
Have I missed any shards hidden
In the carpet? Will they cut his fat feet later?
I hold the bowl, each have in a hand, an open belly.
To him it is only two chunks of whiteness, a nursery rhyme.
Happy he broke it, he says, I did it.

Posted 10/23/15
--From the Bride Minaret, University of Akron Press, 2008
Books by Heather Derr-Smith
Comments (0)