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Marjorie Saiser

Dancing in My Mother's House

My feet dance on the red rug
my father bought her; she would never
say she wanted but she wanted

and he wanted to please,
besides hadn’t the salesman
unfurled rug upon rug

and wouldn’t he soon roll them up again?
Buy now Buy now This deal won’t last.
I dance as if I had a center, answer

my mother’s questions
but do not think of them,
think rather of my hair swaying

with the motion of dancing,
see only walls, framed pictures
sliding by, the stones of the fireplace

they built together, her hands
holding that black stone or that red stone
into place while he chucked white mortar

around it; the sticks of her fingers
wiped the excess away
and everything stayed: stars and planets

in chosen alignment—wait—they slip
out of any semblance of orbit.  I dance
because I am bored and because I have feet,

nearly have momentum whirl almost fast enough
my head back with the speed of it
ready, so ready Break away Break away


Root Canal

Having forgotten to bring my ipod,
wanting to calm myself and make
drilling bearable:  giant machine, giant
noise, giant gloved fingers
inside my mouth.
I try to imagine in the room
on the sidelines
those who love me:
my white dog taking his strong-legged stance,
the old grandmother who adored me,
who gave slice after slice of jelly bread,
my father who said the small right thing
at the right time.  I call them up;
they ring the room, protective, watching.
Unbidden, you arrive.
Your same old smiling eyes,
your smart-ass face.  That warm space
between your neck and shoulder.
Corner for my kiss.
I close my eyes, the dentist drills drills drills,
I will miss you for the rest of my life.