Martha Rhodes

Poems By Martha Rhodes

It Being Forbidden

John

This May Be

  Martha Rhodes

It Being Forbidden

to excuse oneself from the table
before each morsel is chewed and swallowed
it being forbidden to laugh
unless he conducts, pitch and duration,
his arms raised, our sisterly heads shamed
downward; it being forbidden
to invite another to that table who dares
to be more handsome and charming than he.

It being commanded to worship
that occupier of the armed-chair,
carver of pheasants, rabbinic imposter,
tweed-suited weekend gardener,
peddler of diamonds to the ghetto

and we do worship him
for plentiful is his table,
joyous the summer camps,
vast the Canadian forests,
the Caribbean Sea.

He who orchestrates with knife and fork
pulls us to our knees
and we pray with him who whispers
do you love me
and we kiss him on his temple
no one touches me
and we remain in his house
longer than we ought, for he prophesies
even you shall leave me
and when we do leave him, as we must,
we transplant lilacs and peonies from his garden
to ours so that he shall bloom
beneath our windows.


PERFECT DISAPPEARANCE (New Issues Press, 2000)

 

 

 

 

 

 
         
    Poetry Center Reading:
    Spring 2010