Thursday, March 23, 2017

Memo to the New Central Scrutinizer

Right off, move the dining room chairs
and lay on your back to see
the underside of the table
and how it's all put together.

Do this with all the tables you see,
disrupt the customers at the cafe,
curiosity making you
a difficult guest at friend's homes.

They've been suspicious of
the hidden bits of their furniture,
confused by what you may do
with the layers of laminated

facts they feel responsible for
yet ignorant of, and embarrassed
by your bony form laid down
along their imperfect floors

to inspect the assumptions,
the trestles and clamps
and tenons and screws they could have
trusted and now doubt.

Make vague offers to sweep up, absently
brushing away what crumbs and cat hair
may have clung to your back,
but promise to detail

the cracks and crooked joints
that tell of coming collapse,
decipher the meaning of each creak,
then shim a random leg.

Now build your own tables,
always in motion with wobbly wire, weak cleats.
Thinly glued and short-lived tables
that move on to become other objects:

an ear; a pair of eyes;
a three-toed monster
holding open a mid-century school book
under an unplugged lamp.