Eleanor Ross Taylor

E
Eleanor Ross Taylor
At the Altar
That bag you packed me
when you sent me
to the universe—
camp after camp I’ve opened it
debating whether to unpack—
Not yet, not yet—
Why did I feel so much in it
was dangerous on the playground,
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Schizotableau
She’s sitting at my little desk,
drinking decaf.
How’d she get back in?
Where’s her blind man gone?
(I pray he’s gone—
though the desk needs tuning.)
What door was unlocked?
They all seemed bastioned.

I sight through the crack.

That’s my favorite cup,
with the bite out of it.

She’s writing one of my poems.
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Small Trek
snowbound
homebound

hidebound
hamstrung

hogtied

in a corner
up a tree
down the river

nosedive

headway
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Trying to Get Through
I make a knife of words.
I sit here waiting.
I play with crumbs.

Her eyes that should look
straight at me are
toward the window, glazed—
husband’s horizon?

Not armored. Only armed
with pots and pans.
Not out of arm’s reach,
beyond curtains of doorbells,
garden gates.

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Vita
When I was two feet tall
and held the hand above,
how could I know
how far that limping bond would go,
that finger-inch of love.
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29
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Against the Kitchen Wall
A mothball May.
I lean against the kitchen wall.
The sacred pear tree on the hill.
The skyline, small green wheat
waverunning with the wind.

From west to east the green’s
spanned out by men
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Kitchen Fable
The fork lived with the knife
and found it hard — for years
took nicks and scratches,
not to mention cuts.

She who took tedium by the ears:
nonforthcoming pickles,
defiant stretched-out lettuce,
sauce-gooed particles.
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30
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Limits
Only he
Remembered the day we met
And only I
The day we said goodbye:
“Last day of  June, our first blackberry pie,”
He always said.
A wood fire in the summer kitchen,
The hottest day.... A squall in the bedroom.
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Pain in the House
Feeling her head pick up her body,
question mark,
blurred misstamped question mark
snakes out of   bed,
trying to  jiggle unhappiness
as little as possible,
not to wake pain,
not to raise a shade,
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35
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Te Deum
Lord
sho been good to me

My loved hoe handle, and my sweat,
heart pounding and the towhee singing.

Jill, jerking the hospital sheets,
“Damn careless nurses    ...    
“But golly    ...    a good life.
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To Future Eleanors
How will you
cut off from Zions,
fall on your knees among the lions?
What if you
cut off from hymns
confound worksong with anthem

Cut off from Scripture
find sense suspect
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Where Somebody Died
The self  refuses to appear
in this bare place.
It fears that mute chair
and the still window.
The sunlight scares it.
There might rise up a sound.
The door doesn’t like to move,
and the crow out there
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24
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