The Boiler

Sophia Galifianakis

THE STAGE

I knew nothing, bent above the river
I’d stepped in again and again, but never
to get wet. A fallen cause of crimson,
this dawn, too, was a tragedy of light over

the crook of a day that arrived, knowing
nothing. It appeared as I did, donning
a script of gestures grander than its sight,
compelled by a stage for its showing,

I suppose. It painted itself a new sky,
featuring a cast of glimpses that denied
existence, a cloud of angels divided.
My perspective: vertical blinds of light.

I swung into my lines like a sailor—
drunk and seeking the favor of a lover
I’d met on a corner. I whined. The heavens
applauded and cried with the laughter

of those who know the story, who delight
in the knowing. Then dawn gave a sign,
exited bowing. And I waved and threw
kisses as if across a crowd of smiles.

And I’ll tell you, despite all the beaming
and heartfelt feigned goodbyes. Despite
the curtain call, flowers, ovation of night,
I never noticed this river was dry.


CLEANING

You know the metaphor too well: dishes
stacked in yesterday’s jam, hardened bread,
eggs smudged on the counter, waiting. Your son’s
clothes forever unseamed, holes in the laundry,
holes folded into holes that open and shut closed.

Your daughter yawns events at you, too tired
to yawn back, to gape at the same picture
that stays at the same table that changes plates
and scents and textures and never strays
from where it grows. You know how you nod

when people talk, think I should know
what I’ve heard, but the phrases are lost souls
in a yawn of vowels. You nod I understand, and
someone asks, are you even listening? I am.

_______________________________

Currently, Sophia Galifianakis teaches at the University of Michigan, where she received her MFA in poetry. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Plume, The Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and other journals, and she has received scholarships from West Chester Poetry Conference, Poetry by the Sea, and Vermont Studio Center.