Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Constraints of Space

Sometimes I think the teeth of my gears
have chipped off, one by one. I am a bare axle:
I spin, but I turn nothing.

I used to be an atheist, and a communist, and once
I was a Buddhist, and now I am just a man
with a paunch and a bicycle.

When painting a sash window, I hold the brush
like a pen, and shiver the long whiskers
down the slope of the woodwork

just shy of the glass, laying down the paint
like Michelangelo on a good day, lying on his back
and feathering an angel;

and I clean my brushes as soon as I'm done.
This morning I made the beds and thought
confusedly of ships:

someone told me once that sailors come home
neat and tidy ever after, because they've lived
under such constraints of space.

It only just occurred to me today
that nobody could know if that was true.


Zhoen said...

That kind of training does change how one deals with space and stuff. Not the same way for everyone, though.

Sabine said...

I really like the image of the chipped off gears. It feels very familiar.

rbarenblat said...

I love your description of painting the sash window, the assonance of "brush" and "sash" and "shiver," and the way the final stanza makes me question everything I've just read. :-)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

I have loved three sailors. And that's all I have to say about that.

Kathleen said...

Love this! For so many reasons.