At The End of the World We Fell in Love with Silhouettes, Leanne Drapeau

Z.+Z.+Wei+32                                                                     Cornflower Blue, Z.Z. Wei

 

At The End of the World We Fell in Love with Silhouettes
 
i keep cross-threading the light bulbs
while standing on piles of dirty laundry
rubbing my knuckles raw against the spackles

(the smell of my memory is in these walls
when i punched into pink fiberglass i saw my father’s smile)

the wallpaper is yellowed with our stares

the silverware is tinted with newsprint

clean isn’t clean             it’s dissolution

lye eats away the layers of dirt and skin

heat activates the bleach
i burn my hands piling in the whites
chlorine steams up the basement window

make sure you store the glasses upside down in the cabinet
and hand wash the wineglasses so the soap doesn’t stain

drink this in remembrance of me

i made you a sweater from the lint in the trap
it was the shade of moon craters

i have been trying and trying and trying to clean out the attic

if i don’t get it done before the roof blows off will you forgive me the
many times your name has been scratched off and rewritten on the walls?

anything will do

i did

Will be done

i wrote my name under the welcome mat with the spare key

as it is in Heaven

i’ll leave the tea but take the kettle
i’ll leave the salt but take the pepper

don’t forget to look out the window on clear
mornings and count the seagulls flying inland

________________
Leanne Drapeau

 

Review by Pamela O’Shaughnessy

Here is another poem of the quotidian, of cleaning and packing, of dirty details like yellowed wallpaper. The narrator is cleaning out a home and leaving notes of advice about the housekeeping – “make sure you store the glasses upside-down in the cabinet”. But all is not literal – strangely, a few lines from Christian religion creep in, a Last Supper in which the narrator is reminding someone how she wishes to be remembered – “I wrote my name under the mat” after saying “drink this in remembrance of me”. A household is being divided up, the salt left, the pepper taken.

The central question in this poem is, what are the narrator’s true feelings as she departs? They are masked in the detail of washing and division of property. She is not telling us how she feels, but we have hints of her reluctance or resistance, her inability to finish the job – “I’ve been trying and trying to clean out the attic”. The lack of punctuation stresses the seeming lack of affect. But the final sad couplet gives it all away. “don’t forget to look out the window…and count the seagulls flying inland.”  Don’t forget me, these lines say in a truly moving way.

 

 

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