the mouth of the season is on us;
i stand at the stove, my hands pinked by onions,
shiny by oil, the heat all around me,
a haze; a fugue plays
the night pours in at the window;
the canary song rests. the clothes-line rests.
somewhere in the house there is
breathing i cannot sit close to.
they are a dislocated bone.
this too, is a kind of resting, for them.
but i am busy in the kitchen,
busy in my skin, lamenting.
pulling the knife through the fiber of
eggplant, counting my losses.
adding up sums in my head of my griefs.
i am a master mathematician, i know in what column
we can tally each cut.
i can show you the tables, i can
show you equations.
i am sorrowful as only
i will never know hunger like
it can be known.
but i will know, for longer than i can bear
the shock of a heart
clapped shut, shut out, out-cast.
your joyful agitation is a strange calculus.
my formulas fall silent, stare at me.
we have no work here.