This is the Latest

By Ange Mlinko Ange Mlinko
Lobster in the bathtub. Christmas Eve.
Scrub the tub first. Hand off cleanser.
Rinse well. We don’t want Comet
in our lobster.
He’s clicking
against the porcelain. Everyone leery
              of going to the bathroom.

Bubbles had risen when we lowered him in,
now he’s limp.
Stare into the water
that wears a similar gooseflesh.
The lobster is dispatched.

                      *     *     *

Wrapping an oversized box
(a coffee maker),
can’t find a swathe of paper big enough.
Start to cobble bits together
with tape (ah—chitinous)

and the joints look like repeated segments
of a carapace.
A pilot blue glows. Haemocyanin—
a blood based in copper not iron

while the broth of something Provençal
sings from the pot, a little tomatoey,
a little stigma (not stamen) of crocus sativus
under the Star of
Bethlehem

                      *     *     *

If the universe is—this is the latest—
bouncing between inflation
and shrinkage, as if on a trillion-year
pendulum, why wouldn’t
an infant’s sobbing, on the exhale,
have a prosody
as on the inhale have the chemistry
of tears and seas

or our bouillabaisse,
indeed,
a primal soup contain
—besides babbling
and nonspeech and raspberries—
in the briny speech stream

a scuttling underwriter?

Source: Poetry (July/August 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2009
 Ange  Mlinko

Biography

Ange Mlinko is the author of three books, Shoulder Season (Coffee House Press, 2010), Starred Wire (Coffee House Press, 2005), which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, and Matinees (Zoland Books, 1999). In 2009, she won the Randall Jarrell Award in Criticism. Mlinko was born in Philadelphia, and has worked in Brooklyn, Providence, Boston, and Morocco. She has taught poetry at . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Eating & Drinking, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Indoor Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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