Poems

Refrigerator

 

I have returned to the refrigerator of my youth, 

the one that droops 

its shoulders. A small thing,

just noticed, humming in the corner 

of my mind. It wears its white lab coat 

and shuts at the end of each meal

with a definitive snap, unlike the casual

sighings of the new ones. The old one remembers 

the ice pick, the tongs, 

it knows its mortality, its vulnerability 

to the electrical cord.  

It has nothing in its door but door. 

It lives in the place rooted in dream 

that will not change. 

I have returned to my brother after a long time,

because of the refrigerator 

that held his medicines, his juice, on wire racks. 

I have not told my chiropractor 

why my spine is rigid with history,  

It is rigid with my brother’s spine, 

seizing, arms thrown forward, trembling.  

My spine knows not when or where 

this might occur

again.  It is an animal exposed, 

a fish eaten down to its Christmas tree.

It is 1955 at my grandmother’s 

nervous house, with the bubble lights 

and the refrigerator in the pantry 

and the men’s bourbon there, 

and my brother hushed up so no one will

worry. History has hold of the situation 

and will not alter a bit of it;   I see myself 

in heroic terms, separated 

from myself by the gulf of regret,

the refrigerator keeping its small light 

to spill into the darkness

at intervals.