Read This Before It’s Suppressed


You know the lady with the beehive hairdo?
She also has a floating eyeball. If you can
grab it, look into it when you say hello,
she picks up a golden phone, whispers
that you’re all right. She knows your name
before you tell her, even if you never say it
except inside the walls of your mind.


In high school, one of the popular but nice girls
was in something called Job’s Daughters. Did the
initiation rite involve witnessing a pantomime
of suffering? She wore a lot of long, denim skirts;
I don’t know if this was a condition of belonging
or just a style choice. It was the late ’80s, after all.


Many important men
in American history
were Masons,
I’m sure.


My daughter was born
at Illinois Masonic. I hoped
for a tiny fez. They gave her
the standard knit hat–the kind
that seems impossibly small
years later, given that it once
enclosed your entire world.


The daily machinery of the body
is made of bricks: cells respiring,
growing or dying. Always a few
laddering off toward some
malignancy or other. In time,
you have too many bricks
and your reflexes are too slow.
The music speeds up, and then
there’s nothing left to hear.


I guess I’m no better or worse
a wall-builder than you are.
I guess we all leave some spaces
for the sun to come through.


I have a mortar that’s
stronger than honey.



For NaPoWriMo, Day 24.







4 thoughts on “Read This Before It’s Suppressed

  1. Wow, I sure like this one! The multi-part structure is terrific. And what great images: the knit hat that “once / enclosed your entire world” and “witnessing / a pantomime of suffering” and “a few / laddering off.” So much wonderful!

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I liked that structure, too. This may end up being my favorite of the whole month, and certainly nothing I would have written without the bizarre prompt to focus on masonry.

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