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About this poet

Laura Kasischke is the author of The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She teaches at the University of Michigan, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan.

The Pain

Laura Kasischke

Like the human brain, which organizes
The swirls and shades of the bathroom tiles
Into faces, faces
With expressions
Of exhaustion, of disdain. The
Virgin Mary in the toast of course
But also the penance in the pain, and the way
My mother invented
Plums and tissue paper, while
My father invented the type of
Sudden kindness
That takes you by surprise
When you’ve expected to be chastised
And makes you cry


 

About this poem:
"The poem's impulse is the same as the poem's subject—a grappling, out of hope?—with the idea that there must be some way to integrate into one's life, if necessary, the experience of physical pain. If I can make out faces and objects every morning (if I stare long enough) at the bathroom tile—or so I was thinking—surely there would be a way to make meaning out of this pain?"

Laura Kasischke

Copyright © 2013 by Laura Kasischke. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 27, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Laura Kasischke. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 27, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke is the author of The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She teaches at the University of Michigan, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan.

by this poet

poem

A cold wind, later, but no rain. 
A bus breathing heavily at the station. 
Beggars at the gate, and the moon
like one bright horn of a white
cow up there in space. But

really, must I think about all this
a second time in this short life? 
This crescent moon, like a bit
of

poem
The white bowls in the orderly
cupboards filled with nothing.

The sound
of applause in running water.
All those who've drowned in oceans, all 
who've drowned in pools, in ponds, the small 
family together in the car hit head on. The pantry

full of lilies, the lobsters scratching to get out of the pot, and God
poem

Recall the carousel. Its round and round.
Its pink lights blinking off and on.
The children’s faces painted garish colors against
an institutional wall. And the genetics. The
We won’t be here too long  ...    Do not step off  ...
The carousel? Do you recall? As if
we were our