May 2015 - Comments Off

Devon Walker Domine

Leftovers

My hands are latexed yellow. The sink is full
of soap and scald. Mother is somewhere
refrigerated, waiting to be emptied
of her contents. On the counter there is so much left
over from the feast
plates and forks and stacks of bones
the kind you’d never feed
the dog because they’d splinter
in the throat. I think
of Mother, how she loved
to feed our bodies and to watch
each belly bloat with family
recipes. Just yesterday she asked me if I knew
how to make a rue, and I said, no,
and she said, shame on you
for never hearing a word I say.

Then her laugh. Now the rue is sticking
to the plates. I use her sponge—it’s made of steel—
watch the saucers shed their patterns. No
ivy,  gold, or chirping bird to speak of.  I
say I’m sorry to the flies, I have to
throw away your
feast before you lay
eggs. All over
the counters, threads of yolk
lead back to what contained them. Mother
hated the painting where eggs could walk,
and ears held knives, and sparrows
were the size of people. It’s hell, she said, it’s a living
nightmare in a frame. I scrape it up, the shell
she broke with just one hand. Like in a movie.
I put the pieces in the drain and flip
the switch that turns the muck particulate.

The foulest things
these hours. How meat is breaking
down inside me. Not inside
me. A stomach growling
to an empty room. A face
sinking in its ossified frame. Here
in a hundred years
lichen will hold every surface
under dusty dapple. Beaks will strike
the patternless tiles. Stirring, Mother
asks if I can make a family
recipe. I shake
my head. I will never know
where to start. She almost cracks
a smile, but no. She cannot even
look me in the eye. The temperature is falling
in the sink now. The smell is rising with the time
and the populations
of bacteria. They must be so glad to be
feasting, helping decay progress. I turn
the tap to burning and wonder
at the incremental devastations of their lives.

 

Published by: in Issue 1: Fall 2014, Volume 71

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