Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Sunday Poem

American Life in Poetry: Column 031

All of us have known tyrants, perhaps at the office, on the playground or, as in this poem, within a family. Here Long Island poet Gloria g. Murray portrays an authoritarian mother and her domain. Perhaps you've felt the tension in a scene like this.

The drawing "Sorrow" is the featured artwork on Gloria g. Murray's website entrance.

In My Mother’s House

every wall
stood at attention
even the air knew
when to hold its breath
the polished floors
looked up
defying heel marks
the plastic slipcovers
crinkled in discomfort

in my mother’s house
the window shades
against the glare
of the world
the laughter
crawled like roaches
back into the cracks
even the humans sat—

cardboard cut-outs
around the formica
kitchen table
and with silver knives
sliced and swallowed
their words

Reprinted from “Poet Lore,” Vol 99, No. 1/2 by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Gloria g. Murray, whose latest book of poetry is “Five A.M. Anxiety.” This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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