The window at the landing
where the stair turns—each pane
arranging its portion—
my foot descending,
the pointed toe plunging toward the tread,
the bare foot, the infant toes above
a moving landscape—I think I was harnessed
beneath the carriage of a huge balloon,
reeled out to nap as one reels out laundry
to dry from an upper-story window.
My mother busy tidying above,
tossing the scraps of a meal overboard.
And just before sleep, my new eyes
noting the backs of birds diving
after the meal’s detritus—apple peelings,
uneaten bread crust—below that,
a mile or more, green pastures,
a tractor dragging harrows,
combing the earth . . .
Everything is so sad
when one is longing for a machine
the perfect dome
of steamed rice
into a bowl on a conveyor belt under heat lamps.
Have you lost
for the labor of human hands, the toiling heart?
There is a button with a peanut
icon, a button
with a soybean icon. Just who’s
baby’s got what
kind of sauce?
Wait ‘til it breaks--
you’ll have to put your shame on the shelf--
running for the bright red (yes,
of course) emergency telephone,
(someone will be right there)
wailing for the mechanic. In
Whatever you make, in thanks, you’ll make from scratch.