Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

The Grind


Three ciabbatini for breakfast
where demand for persnickety bread
is small, hence its expense, hence my steadfast
recalculation of my overhead,

which soars, and as you might expect
the ciabbatini stand in for my fantasy
of myself in a sea-limned prospect,
on a terrace, with a lemon tree . . .

Not: Assessed a fee for rent sent a day late.
Not: Fines accrued for a lost library book.
Better never lose track of the date.
Oversleep, and you're on the hook.

It's the margin for error: shrinking.
It's life ground down to recurrence.
It's fewer books read for the thinking
the hospital didn't rebill the insurance;

the school misplaced the kids' paperwork.
Here's our sweet pup, a rescue
which we nonetheless paid for, and look:
he gets more grooming than I do.

When I turn my hand mill, I think of the dowager
who ground gems on ham for her guests;
the queen who ground out two cups of flour
on the pregnant abdomen of her husband's mistress;

I think of a great "rock-eating bird"
grinding out a sandy beach,
the foam said to be particulate matter
of minute crustaceans, each

brilliantly spooning up Aphrodite
to Greek porticoes, and our potatoes,
and plain living which might be
shaken by infinitesimal tattoos.


Ange Mlinko

Marvelous Things Overheard
Farrar, Straus and Giroux


To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem