Simplify the Universe with a Pie Chart

Daily, daily scathing roughens the psyche
and veils are unhinged. I too was a planet,
planed and waterless. Wolf-roved. Our roofs
leaked, mischievous sisters locked the Mother General
out in the garth where she prayed to the Foundress
and the dead and the living looked on, entombed
and disapproving. Gray nuns, grave, gave out.
There was weeping in every stall.
Though the stalls be empty of cattle, we trust.
Though our intellects rust, we grow tweedy-brown
and opportunistic, feeding off morsels.
A cosmos of relics in the crypt and a senior
sister led the laity around brilliantly by a
twisted adamantine-ringed nose, to see
broken finger bones, bloody cloths, brains.
Blood so blue and white we redden and hide
our film-star faces. Cagey.
Margaret crushed by a door. Martha martyred
by a window overlooking the park,
with swaggering ducks and blinding water.
Paddlers. What if you had held a grudge,
fondled it, and found that you had fallen in love?
He has turned up finally, his jaw like the suspension
bridge, magnetized with stubble, cheekbones like girders.
Oh no, I am not a cliché. See my inside.
Ten years inside but without the comforts of bantam mornings.
Bodies on beds shimmied into corners with shifty valances. September blues.
Fat satin. Sidling in from the green room. In the gut, a vagabond
ache like disgust. I walk cumbersome honesty sideways
through several doors, park her in the smoky alley.
Pull up compunction by his Jaeger collar, kiss his spandrel nose,
expel him into the snowy street.
I relish jealousy on the side with copious dressing.
Feed depression to a gull called Guillaume
on a bleak beach during lunch break.
Simplify the universe with a pie chart
and chomp down three-quarters of it with mustard and beer.

More Poems by Geraldine Clarkson