Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

Ceremony — D M Gordon

It’s finally possible to microwave

the perfect egg. I take a shallow bowl

with Mandarin carp hand-painted on the bottom,

puncture the yolk, before

my daughters wake, before the peace

of night is gone. I grate pecorino

to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik;

Oolong tea in raku, on teak

beneath a spray of roses.

The crossword in the paper begs eight letters

for what of innocence is drowned.

I check the news as far away, a plane,

a drone. A helicopter skims by rooftops.

Under beating blades young gods

drop shards of paper into air.

One takes Polaroids of geraniums

blown off balconies. Through air

that swims with scarlet petals,

paper drifts, a test of wind, a non-parade.

More helicopters come, no

ordered bees from unforgiving hives.

I wake the children, take them to the cellar.

Musicians rush from the house next door,

and school girls from the upstairs arrive half-dressed

as bombs start falling to the east. The air

grows strange with scents of strawberries

and solvent; the cockateel drops noiseless

from its perch with tightened wings.

Outside, fine powder dusts the windshields

of the silent cars as a mender rams his head

against a blinking light. Inside, my eyes

begin to bleed. It’s morning, don’t ask where,

as if it’s someplace else.

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