Jeffrey McDaniel Poems
The Quiet World
In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly ...
The sinks dishes are the sinks problem
as I ooh and aah at the complexity of balance
implicit to keep the structure: eight glasses, thirteen
bowls, a valley of forks, intact, while I run
hot water over a knife for my onion.
There's a science to the bathtub's archipelago
of grunge colonies that's necessary to America.
My toothbrush is the pin keeping Detroit from collapse.