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Alicia Ostriker – Ⅰ -

Family: Attemped Speech 


For Amy





A family of no conversation

alternating monologues and silence



at time shouts and blows

someone hitting her head against the apartment wall



as her own mother did

which she so hated



we loved each other only through our pores

what to do with this love we could not conceivably say



so family is a way of demonstrating

how incomplete we are while belonging to each other



like tires of an armored car we can never drive

artichoke leaves around a hairy heart



dear sister let us tell this open secret

let us wave the painfully specific dented kitchen spoons



take the canned peaches from the dusty shelf

listen to the radiator knock



let the story flow like milk

to a nursing woman’s breasts



let it open like the door

to the crying room