Dishes

We are talking on the phone
in our mutual baritones
6000 miles and 6 hrs apart
and I hear you doing dishes
the clink and clank of armor
chains or tin cups on the bars
or banging tables in a nursing home
when the staff is orchestrating
the humiliating idiocy of Turkey in the Straw
and I know you busy in your mind and body
able to dance these two things at least
at once while I cannot
stalled in traffic in the dervish bazaar
unable to protect by any balancing act
what is left of order
and clean reason
as you get quiet and I see
you swab the sink at last
until it shines

Dozing

leaning back in the cracked leather of a heavy car
rolling alone on the road, shocks absorbed,
paper birch pass like winter breaths,
like the crosses in that hairy yard, and center dashes
swish beneath the chassis, thinning to vanishing
line in the rear mirror while just ahead
road kills bloom like macula on a forearm.

STOP and GO and YIELD, DEER CROSSING
and more clichés, tarred poles all go by, wired
hints of progress in a long distance trance,
keeping faith with suspension’s dance and radial vision,
inklings of slicks on bridges, the warm air
conditioning reverie’s lee, lax about the usual
movie, the evidence out there, as if anyone might be
someone else, without instance,

no snap of a stone under the rubber,
no partridge hurtling, one blurred bounce
like a loaf of bread off the windshield
fracturing any musing while cruising
Tierra del Fuego or Lucretius or the alcove
of Musee d’Orsay that holds Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
and three self-portraits in the lit dark, reflection

a kind of travel, safe beneath canopies
of cloud, of trees, off in a pirogue on the Orinoco,
a kayak among ice-flows but always
steadied by remove and ready to startle at a murder,
crows flushed from a candied rat.

Nana’s Lime Green Easy

Her lime green Easy top load with the Viking lid
on its four thin legs made the wooden laundry floor
quake to the swishing of the agitator,

its head a wringer with white rollers
gumming and juicing sheets, socks, shirts
as if to extract “the what it was to be,”
while the black gut motor hung, humming,
cradled by the taut black belt.

Its frayed cord sparked with every splash,
the dual action pulsing in the tub, the suds,
the crone with red hands lifting the sop,
fingering cuffs, sleeves, collars,

her daughter’s eyes narrowing to see her grin,
feed my dungarees into the wringer that grabbed,
spewed them flat and clean and down in dead folds
into her yawning wicker basket