Gorgeous Unfinished Wood Braced in Grey Iron
Protect us from being eaten by a vine or a stick.
Save us from being devoured by the new thatch
or the shiny nails.
—Xunka’ Utz’utz’ Ni’, “So the New House Won’t Eat Us”
They are eating us, the lamps dangling like fruit
from curving metal stems
that sucked up days of browsing catalogues, days lost from sex,
the Sony 24” HDTV and the media console,
gorgeous unfinished wood braced in grey iron,
that cost more than thought,
the witchy bedroom blinds
that can be lowered from the top or raised from the sill
to stop envious eyes,
the kitchen cart, the black bookshelves,
the dish drainer, the shower caddy, the vacuum cleaner,
the plastic food containers that swallow each other like Russian dolls,
they are devouring us.
And our neighbors gossip, Serves them right.
Let them be eaten up, cry our friends.
Close the mouths of the envious, Kajval,
shut up the smug socialists.
Let the priest go on his way.
We will pray to the spirit in things,
we will pray to you, Kajval, Mother,
turning first to the fading photo
of sister, husband and baby Hannah,
a holy icon,
turning next to the dining table
that father Norval built from cherry wood,
and driven for nine hours across state lines from Cincinnati,
and add our prayers to those of the Mayan lady,
who is poor beyond our imagination,
but tallies our hearts:
Let the saints in their coffers,
the voices that speak from inside old chests,
stand up for those who live in this house.