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Monday, November 07, 2005

American Life in Poetry #31: Gloria G. Murray.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

All of us have known tyrants, perhaps at the office, on the playground or, as in this poem, within a family. Here Long Island poet Gloria g. Murray portrays an authoritarian mother and her domain. Perhaps you've felt the tension in a scene like this.



In My Mother's House

every wall
stood at attention
even the air knew
when to hold its breath
the polished floors
looked up
defying heel marks
the plastic slipcovers
crinkled in
discomfort

in my mother's house
the window shades
flapped
against the glare
of the world
the laughter
crawled like roaches
back into the cracks

even the humans sat--
cardboard cut-outs
around the formica
kitchen table
and with silver knives
sliced
and swallowed
their words



Reprinted from "Poet Lore," Vol 99, No. 1/2 by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 2005 by Gloria g. Murray, whose latest book of poetry is "Five A.M. Anxiety." This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Also of Interest:

  • Call for Submissions Page: A regularly updated listing of competitions and calls for submission of poetry, prose, visual arts, academic/professional papers and more.

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