Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Michael F. Gill

Photo by James Conant

Charlene’s House

Charlene sprinkles nutmeg rinds
through the foyer
and dons a petroleum-based scent
across eager curves.
The Book limps into sight,
entering her mind
like chalk scrawled on walls,
its fibers a nuanced silo
of intellectual somersaults.

The Book, Charlene,
and their child Loneliness
plan their weekends
with the hopeful arrival of guests.
Can The Tree sleep over?
Will The Garden move in?
Let's invite The Marble Columns.
Let's make dinner.

In the kitchen, surrounded by
obscure herbs and spices,
she is pouring
the snout of an armadillo
into a broth of tapioca
and pasta pinches.
The Book wears a yellowing shirt
felled with flammable resin, while
Loneliness is questioning
a pocketful of sugar
about a missing sundress.

Opening The Book,
Charlene feels its fossils sewing
and gliding in her conscious,
while the drooping edge of Loneliness
tugs her leg like an infant canine.
Mica and lichen
cover the three of them
as their eyes travel down
a speedway of fiction
that leads to Fugitive Hill.

For weekdays,
Charlene takes the shuttle
and shakes off the gnats.
Like clockwork,
her secretarial flippers tangle up
as soon as she's on the job,
and her mistakes begin to copulate.
They spawn a weedy orchard
in her cubicle, a brain bristle
far from pearwood and poplar.

Above this orchard,
her tattoo of a pentangle
gleams in its peppermint glue.
Feminine energy flows around its heart,
just like The Book said it would.

When Charlene heads home,
it is a freestyle swim through
saltine-flavored diversions.
As weathermen on the nightly news
give their schizophrenic forecast,
she stands over the crevasse
of her sighs, and falls upon
the clutters and cracks of offspring.

Her sleep has not been spacious.
Without giving hesitation
to the pitch black curves
of Monday night's claw,
Charlene puts her arms around Loneliness,
and takes off its dress.

She is so gentle with this longing
that it ceases to exist
when covered
with something as simple as a kiss.