Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Poems by Wendy Vardaman


Away a few days, we return to a deluge—

ankle deep in the basement—

window-leaked above, over-saturated beneath: the papers and maps

scattered all over the floor past salvage: we tear

up sodden carpet, peel heavy strips from concrete, try to envision

how to free it, sticky adhesive-backed, from loaded shelves, with maximum efficacy.

But first I command, Come see,

standing at the door of a little girl’s closet and a deluge

of dozens and, to my limited vision,

identical pink plastic shoes, whose meaning

I can’t help but mull: the tyranny

of shop, shopping, shopper—life’s map

wiped and remapped

with permissible destinations, borders, sights; filling the sea

of need with things that will not satisfy but deter

motion in a deluge:

and just in case the love of flip-flops does not suffice to halt all movement

she’s tethered to television,

house to car, bedroom to kitchen, breakfast to dinner, no division

on this crucial point.

I meant

to mention the summer season

at the children’s theater where I work, deluge

my friends with appeals to watch a show, volunteer

to host her, if she’d like to act, tear

her away a while, but revise

my speech before it’s begun, deluged

by Disney, by princesses, by product tie-ins, each mapped

to one movie or another, her life its own sequel

which, without the urtext, means

nothing. Nothing will come from nothing. Meaning

that King Lear’s on stage this weekend tearing

the eyes of its characters, its audience, to make us, if not see

better, at least look at the world through another lens, caught up in the vision

of a father who orders the future on a map

that none will honor when the rains

arrive, as if his reign meant

something more than a few dashed lines on a fake treasure map, torn

and divided, written in water, then swallowed by the sea.


He likes action,

violence, surprise, plot: not shards

of household glass assembled

with tweezers, blurred vision,

old glue:

the kind I find at the back

of the kitchen drawer to make do

on hours of reconstruction work

to the delicate-handled ceramics he’s thrown

all summer then packed

in a box, too little bubble wrap,

most bodies, though not the lips

or limbs, in tact;

and when we sit shoulder

to shoulder for an entire evening without cutting

ourselves on sharp

edges, managing to get most of the pots back into shape

with only some seams showing,

with only a few disfiguring beads of glue overflowing

from the pressure,

with just the slightest light

headedness from the fumes,

it’s an event, if not miraculous,

at least worth noting:

worth the exclamation

I keep to myself as our

fingertips touch over and over,

as if I’d always been the Mother.

No comments:

Post a Comment