Poetry


Tuesday, January 26th, 2010


FAMILY
Ray Gonzalez


A man holds a chicken by the neck and a woman in a blood-stained dress waits with a cleaver.  A child peers around the kitchen door as a yellow puddle grows at his feet.

There is a man talking to himself in the mirror, while a woman rushes down the stairs past
a child hiding in a dark closet at the foot of those stairs.

A man sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, while a woman unfolds a large map on a table.  Her child looks over her shoulder and stares at the colored lines.

There is a man in his driveway spray painting his car a different color.  A woman walks down the same street alone at night.  Her child has been missing for three weeks.

A man sleeps on a pile of stones.  A woman brings a vase of flowers, but places it on the grave marker next to the sleeping man.  The child of the dead person in the ground is in a classroom twelve miles away.

A different man lies on a stone altar, praying because his heart is about to be sacrificed to an indifferent god.  He spots a woman flying through the clouds overhead, but she is gliding toward the wrong mountain.  Her child explores dark underground caverns beneath a castle in a country on the other side of the world.

There is a man vacuuming the front room for his tired wife, while a woman who is not his wife sits on the sofa in the other room.  The news she has brought him has led to the punishment of his son, who is weeping quietly in his bedroom, his back and legs burning with welts and bruises.

There is a man accepting an award he doesn’t deserve, while a woman buys four copies of his book at the back of the auditorium.  Her child is on the phone with her boyfriend at home, plotting how they will pay for the motel room.

There is a man jealous and resentful of another man.  A woman who has nothing to do with this passes in the hallway between the men’s offices.  The child of the jealous man will wind up as a drug addict and make more money than his father, who is a jealous, mediocre writer.

There is a man asking for a second piece of bread.  There is a woman not willing to serve him any longer.  Their child is loading ammunition onto a jet fighter on a brightly lit runway.


*****

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