housekeeping

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Housekeeping
Natasha Trethewey

We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard. Late afternoon, we draw
the blinds to cool the rooms, drive the bugs
out. My mother irons, singing, lost in reverie.
I mark the pages of a mail-order catalog,
listen for passing cars. All day we watch
for the mail, some news from a distant place.

 

Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

illumination

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Illumination

Natasha Trethewey

Always there is something more to know

what lingers at the edge of thought

awaiting illumination as in

this second-hand book full

of annotations daring the margins in pencil

a light stroke as if

the writer of these small replies

meant not to leave them forever

meant to erase

evidence of this private interaction

Here a passage underlined there

a single star on the page

as in a night sky cloud-swept and hazy

where only the brightest appears

a tiny spark I follow

its coded message try to read in it

the direction of the solitary mind

that thought to pencil in

a jagged arrow It

is a bolt of lightning

where it strikes

I read the line over and over

as if I might discern

the little fires set

the flames of an idea licking the page

how knowledge burns Beyond

the exclamation point

its thin agreement angle of surprise

there are questions the word why

So much is left
untold Between

the printed words and the self-conscious scrawl

between what is said and not

white space framing the story

the way the past unwritten

eludes us So much

is implication the afterimage

of measured syntax always there

ghosting the margins that words

their black-lined authority

do not cross Even

as they rise up to meet us

the white page hovers beneath

silent incendiary waiting

Photo by Anirban Ghosh on Unsplash