Pain In The House

By Eleanor Ross Taylor

Feeling her head pick up her body,
question mark,
blurred misstamped question mark
snakes out of   bed,
trying to  jiggle unhappiness
as little as possible,
not to wake pain,
not to raise a shade,
if  raising a shade in the dark wakes pain.
Under the shade the stars are awake, smiling —
ready to frown on unhappiness.
And the happiness of  the unconscious
is scurrying already
from the knife-edge of   light,
pain’s night-light,
waiting under the door across the hall.
Dread’s square hair stiffens,
her feet have corners,
trying to trick the stairs out of their creaking,
and the house out of  groaning before coffee,
before resurrection.
Death before resurrection is hard;
breakfast and the stars belong first;
plenty of  time to die all day
when everything does groan, and unhappiness
shakes itself out like a musty old mare
all over the house.
Dread says to herself: Serves me right
for leaving home, for learning to read;
serves me right for children and menopause
and cosmetic surgery, and elation in gin.
I must travel back
through the shade and the black holes and the frowns,
through drink and tampon and alphabet
to the kitchen and mother and dad and
the morning of  the resurrection was the first day.

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