catherine bowman | the sink

9 08 2010

Poetry Dispatch No.330 | August 9, 2010



She loves to talk on the phone
while washing the dinner dishes,
catching up long distance or
dealing with issues closer to home,
the reconnoitring with the long lost
or a recent so-and-so. She finds it
therapeutic, washing down
the aftermath. And that feeling
she gets in her stomach with a loved one’s
prolonged silence. And under the sink
in the dark among the L-pipes, the confederate
socket wrenches, lost twine, wire lei,
sink funk, steel-wool lemnisci, leitmotifs
of oily sacraments, a broken compass forever
pointing southeast by east, mold codices,
ring-tailed dust motes from days well served,
a fish-shaped flyswatter with blue horns,
fermented lemures, fiery spectres,
embottled spirit vapors swirling in the crude
next to the Soft Scrub, the vinegared
and leistered sealed in tins, delicious with saltines,
gleaned spikelets, used-up votives….
In the back in the corner forgotten
an old coffee can of bacon fat
from a month of sinful Sundays,
a luna moth embossed, rising—a morning star.

[from: The New Yorker, June 20, 2010]




3 responses

10 08 2010
Jean Casey

I’m reminded of Shel Silverstein’s marvelous poem about not taking the garbage out! Except, of course, that this stuff is far more subversive. Sub rosa? Submarine!

11 08 2010
Phil Hansotia

This is a smoothe ‘list poem’ that weaves life and its cluttered smugness with the coffee cans and pipes that live happi;y together under our sinks. Catherine is comfortable with the soap suds in her sink and the voice over the telephone–who am I to Challenge that! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Phil.

13 08 2010
Nancy Balz

Norb, you are a genius to find this again, now, and get it sent. I am going to run and look under the sink. Thanks.

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