All They Didnít Take

Like a table set with hens and jam
or a bath freshly drawn and steaming,
but not one mouth wet,
not one discarded article,
only the rushing of late April afternoon light
through the back door and pooling at my feet.
I retuned from a Saturday walk
and they were gone: four black boxes
and a catóthe emptiness sick and yellow
like something left on the lawn too long.
I stood on the back stoop looking
onto a diminutive crime sceneómy lifeó
two of my three cats flicking
dust off their tails over the threshold.

Whoever buys my laptop at the local pawn
needs to look me up and take me. Not because
I want it back or because lord knows
I need the poetry. Only thatís my motherís face
on the desktop, at twenty, her sculpted arms
propped up by something like poise, her bodice
laced up like a bar maidís, gabardine waist coat
on her shoulders. I think she wore the quill
for my father whom she may have just begun
to love, goofing Neil Young from the stage
of a bar in Wichita where they met.
And her cheekbones are only a story I can tell
to a certain point. Is there a word
for the opposite of being born again?

Ruth Doan, 33, is a reading teacher in Chicago, moving to San Fransisco to continue this work in January 2008. She has an MFA in poetry from Western Michigan University. Consumate word geek, lover, teacher, day-dreamer. (toothied2002@yahoo.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761