9 March 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 1

Objects, a History

Swiss, great-grandmother says "blood" to the row of the riverboat gently covering its tracks. Father defends their western terms, "I'm no wagon, no horse." Anchored—land, land ho—grandfather's in the motor, radio, hull, in the rain. Aunt J says "he touched it, it's ruined" and pops bread from a bread pan. Uncles talk Canada, a state away, with its good hunting, fishing.

Son-rock, father-rock, etc. Everyone has their own, and an everybody boulder. The married-in feel left out. Ambassadors dust pieces of quartz: "here." Moss gives them value.

The mother Northwest, "particle pants shirt other particles," shirt under coat in flannel. Daughter can only wool. The father underwears with holes. Son replicates grandmother in green and brown (a tree in a snow coat). All say, sweaters.

At the reunion picture sun hits their eyes all silver, a family of robots smiling off in different directions. Thanksgiving ends with the spoon game, eyeglasses removed to prevent glass shards, glasses full of gin. Christmas surrounded by cold windows and the symmetry of grandma-grandpa, aunt-uncle, cousin-cousin.

Across country: a fast sit. Q: are cars unnatural shapes? Comfortable, the drive-in on gravel humps, to singing speakers. A: we make them. In some lifetime they will fly.

Aunt J and uncle B of the cats and dogs and chickens (raspberries, blueberries, grapes, broccoli, carrot, rhubarb—wheat bread, jam, ice cream… woodstove [girl scouts, babysitters]). Aunt J of the cats and dog (raspberries, grapes, broccoli, carrot, rhubarb—bread, jam… woodstove [girl scouts]).

No mention, we all do weird things in the bathroom. Kitchen dishes a certain melancholy in the mother. The grandfather digs, trails sharp coast shells. A family plot of cups for summer water fights. During holidays: juice and milk and whiskey.

The son hikes with grandmother in a lava field sharp but soft (exterior) from wind (everything exterior). Happy in wood in thicket in forest (a lightning starts). Uncle J deserts, cooks adobe, adobe home, like an oven. The son dreams old buildings of brick: supposed higher incidence of radiation (a microwave dings). When brother P drives: a suspicious parking job. Some particle board, some walls drywall: plaster (a foot and fist temptation display).

When I die, the son demands, throw me in a ditch. Father says religion "is a moon, then the long hike to a moon." Meanwhile, the mother clears floor space for strangers through the door. No grandparents keep a family tree because the ridiculous shape.

Brother to the brother, I will tell the truth about music—because breakfast sounds like a railroad crossing—it is the whistle, the way air shakes. Brother tells the brother, I accept, and the truth of desirability: one more desirable than the other. Brother answers brother, a different tree color, a portrait, a house bent with old age. Brothers trade sides, tap feet, and listen to record grooves.

About the author:

Michael S. Rerick lives and schools in Cincinnati. Poems are forthcoming at Greatcoat and Words on Walls.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Michael S. Rerick at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 1, where "Objects, a History" ran on March 9, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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