Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 20 . . .

Mourning in the Burned House

     by RJ Ingram

          — after a line by Margaret Atwood

In the burned house I am making Margaret breakfast:

cold cigarettes, spoons wired into squid. It swims

below the marble top, slowly under the counter

and jettisons to the sinus cavity. My limbs are full.

Webby tendrils lock my knees at sixty degrees—

she tells me no one eats squid for breakfast anymore.

We mourn and continue watching the sunrise

above neighbor cabins. Simple things happen

when sleep swims into the drone of plastic fans,

loose floorboards. This morning deserves apple wine

endings. If I tell Margaret ten of my children

survive by eating the younger ones,

fists full of amino acids, each a candy puff,

with ink, blowing around mercury moonlight,

as dandelions dance in oscillating wind, she will leave

doors swinging. The flameless candles echo stillness.

My cinder seat casts shadows over the pulpy wax.

The countertop reflects the hollow cup of the spoon,

my children are narcoleptic variations

of absence, empty chairs, I am sure.


RJ Ingram is pursuing a BFA from Bowling Green State University. He is the co-editor in chief of the national undergraduate journal Prairie Margins and an assistant poetry editor for both Mid American Review and Fridge. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Birch, Catfish Creek, and Naropa Summer Writing Program’s annual magazine.


© 2011 RJ Ingram