Friday, September 27, 2013

The Table

photo by Margaret Bednar

Each day the cells divided
I was a little less mine,
and I bowed my head in horror,
but kept my cup held high
above his polished table;

God forbid, I leave a mark.

Dark ripened to dawn
spilling its reflection
like a wound across the wood
(the very vein for vivisection?),
and I wondered if I could

tear the entire hell apart.

Since I couldn't break the water,
I started breaking glass
and gouging gashes in the table,
trying to splinter past
my well-groomed poverty of person
slimmed by the slight repasts

of a miser's feeding.

Then, yes!  The leak of lineage
wet inside my thighs -
smelling copper as the coins exchanged
for the potion to deprive
the dog his wish, his whelp,

and his bitch for bruise and breeding.

And, leave me spread,
a feast of failure on his table -
a graveyard for his seeding.

This was supposed to be a "place poem" for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads, but it went a little wild on me.   I'm hoping that the focus on the table keeps it somewhat with the parameters.

22 comments:

Susan said...

Horror! Moving as a Gothic story as if a ghost is the unrelenting tour guide, a Fantine (Les Mis) at least, but one not quite so lucky.

hedgewitch said...

Difficult, but so well-written--birth and death are a constant allegory we may never truly understand. I really enjoyed reading something longer from you, MZ--there is time here to really develop the darkness and mood. Chills.

Margaret said...

The way this photograph tuned out - whether it is the darkness or the angle, it struck me as a cold, lonely place. This poem is full of a pleading, dejected soul... oh my. "spilling its reflection like a wound across the table..." Yes, the whole thing revolves around it... I wonder - perhaps she even gave birth on that table.

Amazing writing ... and could read pages & pages of Mama Zen and never get tired of it!

kaykuala said...

A premonition that might cause unnecessary heartbreaks. A table can invoke such as it's a grand one. So also your take MZ!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

the well groomed poverty of person...what a phrase that is....
the scratching and scarring of the table to get at th past was a pretty powerful moment there as well...

Margaret said...

Had to come back for a third read. Yes I echo all Brian says.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm with Brian re "the well groomed poverty of person" which made me imagine daughters of impoverished parsons in a Jane Eyre sort of garb...
Very powerfully written, MZ. I can see it went a little wild on you, and a little long, but poems can do that to us. "The leak of lineage" is such a powerful line leading inevitably to the haunting end.
K

Lorraine said...

It does my eyes never quite left an impression on the table, couldn't look away and the rest,dark like fear of spilling all over

Kerry O'Connor said...

This has evolved into an amazing story.. and aren't they all linked to place. Your female as victim of arranged marriage or abusive employer is very well realized in the narrative voice. I felt for her, and felt the legacy of womanhood as I read her tale.

Marian said...

argh!

Marina Sofia said...

This is really good: dark, gripping, viciously powerful, angry.

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerfully evocative.

manicddaily said...

Yikes. This is truly scary. A Doll's House gone gothic with a touch of Ingmar BErgman. Very well crafted, terrifying. K.

Ella said...

Hot damn! This is scary good~
I too felt for her and the indecent arrangement~

Grace said...

Dark indeed MZ but well written ~ The ending gave me the shivers ~

Sumana Roy said...


wonderfully worded poem with so many shades......

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh my goodness, a tragic tale told so expertly. The pain in it palpable. Such a creative interpretation of the image. I am in awe.

grapeling said...

mood and emotion well caught, MZ

Hannah said...

I think your second stanza really rocks the place part and the rest develops around it a whole story revolving around this...it's neat to read a longer MZ poem!! Enjoyed!

Fireblossom said...

My gosh. Uni says, "not grim enough!"

Grandmother said...

The potion that led to the spilling of the hated one's seed as his prized property is destroyed- dark, powerful, perfect.

chamomile sea said...

I love this section and can, to an imagined degree, relate:

"Then, yes! The leak of lineage
wet inside my thighs -
smelling copper as the coins exchanged
for the potion to deprive
the dog his wish, his whelp,

and his bitch for bruise and breeding.

And, leave me spread,
a feast of failure on his table -
a graveyard for his seeding."