steam curls up then vanishes,
tenderly strokes last night’s dishes
poking up out of a fetid sink,
never reaches the humming lights.
how long can a grown man last
in this indelicate condition?
without hearing one’s own name,
without being much touched
except by the dishes, the broom,
the furniture and a carnival
of the same unnoticeable clothing
that flits across the body into the wash and
back to the closet to wait their weekly use.
like the food regularly prepared
and eaten and restocked. like the bills
that come and go. in the end,
this daily business becomes more than itself,
more than recurring washings: duties that contain
just enough substance in the quiet way
they push agains chaos and ruin
to satisfy this blunted masculinity,
stringing me along until the next chore
in this cycle of tasks, of marking time,
of keeping home and keeping house.


4 thoughts on “isolation

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