From the archives – Mourning in the Burned House — RJ Ingram

Mourning in the Burned House

—after a line by Margaret Atwood

In the burned house I am making Margaret breakfast:
cold cigarettes, spoons wired into squid. It swims
below the marble top, slowly under the counter

and jettisons to the sinus cavity. My limbs are full.
Webby tendrils lock my knees at sixty degrees—
she tells me no one eats squid for breakfast anymore.

We mourn and continue watching the sunrise
above neighbor cabins. Simple things happen
when sleep swims into the drone of plastic fans,

loose floorboards. This morning deserves apple wine
endings. If I tell Margaret ten of my children
survive by eating the younger ones,

fists full of amino acids, each a candy puff,
with ink, blowing around mercury moonlight,
as dandelions dance in oscillating wind, she will leave

doors swinging. The flameless candles echo stillness.
My cinder seat casts shadows over the pulpy wax.
The countertop reflects the hollow cup of the spoon,

my children are narcoleptic variations
of absence, empty chairs, I am sure.

by RJ Ingram

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 20, January 2011

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim


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