Dignity in the Home

Betsy Brown
All the chairs and the long brown couch just lay 
down on the floor in a line and the thin 
curtains joined them, sort of on the side 
or fluttering down onto them and I watched 
thinking this is the kind of loneliness I 
should've known about and this is nonsense: I object. 
But the furniture line was so heavy
it went right out the door and some of my 
neighbors' lamps joined in, the tails 
of extension cords and paths of towels and bedding 
went straight down the lawn to the lake where 
even my toothbrush and coffee mug with the cats 
on it had slunk, so dejected it didn't 
even matter they were in the water with some 
cold rocks and a clam. All were loaded down 
with the despair so poignant in furnishings, each 
I tried to coax back into the house, gathering 
the alarm clock and frying pan from the lake, 
but, almost politely, they moved from 
my hands back down to that cold home 
with the fierce clam, who guarded them 
from my confusion. They were so quiet 
about it, I love them. My pajamas floated 
with such purpose, reached for the laces of one of my 
old tennis shoes out nearly to the reef, 
reached without expectation.

From Year of Morphines by Betsy Brown. Copyright © 2002 by Betsy Brown. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.

From Year of Morphines by Betsy Brown. Copyright © 2002 by Betsy Brown. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.

Betsy Brown