Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 Poetry |

The Sky-Blue Dress

The light says hurry and the woman gathers the perishables to the table, the fish thawed to a chilled translucency, the roses lifted out of a sink of rainwater, the clean hunger on the faces of her husband and children faithful as the biscuits they crumble into their mouths. Hunger is the wedge that keeps them intact, a star spilling from the fruit she slices in a dizzying multiplication of hands wiping a child's mouth of butter, hands wiping a dishrag across a clean plate. She stands at the door waving the dishrag—ready, set go!—calling the children in, shooing the children out, caught in a perpetual dismantling, a restlessness she strikes the rag at as if she could hush the air invented by flies. The light says hurry and the family gathers at the table, the tablecloth washed through countless fumblings of grace, its garland hem of fruits clouds into blue pools, faded as a bruise or a reckless tattoo or the roses the woman hurried that morning into the house, rushing to rev

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