For Miriam Mulcahy
In everyday life, ask more questions.
There’s a rule to live by.
Questions about the form and technique of living:
how do you read a poem or get the scum out of a coffee cup?
You try hard.
Read the cutlery drawer as it was written: left to right,
past to future, imagination to critical thought.
The forks think themselves into a confused pattern,
knives live so simply, like monks or soldiers.
The spoons reflect the absurd world.
The thing is, you want to be surprised by life
amid the dailiness of routine.
Wash the dishes, dry the dishes, eat the dishes,
talk about the dishes.
You are noisy
in your sleep
and when you wake up
you are awake.
Yes is the word that speaks your name,
that speaks the body of your name,
your body’s name. It speaks the woman
left behind in the twentieth century,
deciding on the place of cutlery in the history
of the kitchen drawer.
She closes the drawer on our open-mouthed other selves.
You said yes because you always said yes
locked outside your spoonself.
No is in the release
of the tip of the tongue
currently stuck to the roof of your mouth.
Did you say yes?
Or did they hear what they wanted to hear
in the din
the scraping of the plates,
the clamouring of cups,
the high pitched screaming
of the forks.