We dollhouse monsters

   dine on disco balls and starfish,
                      our jowls crashing
            like cymbals,
   while my baby brother takes out his eight-ball
left eye and squints his right
             to line up his shot
   on the world’s smallest pool table.
Mother has a camera for a head;
             it flashes uncontrollably
                      though she claims to have run
out of film a hundred years ago,
               when father’s penis,
an unstoppable spigot,
    became a garden sprinkler,
contained by adult diapers, changed hourly,
                      and hourly, my sister—
             shuffling out of her hiding place
in the cuckoo clock, her hair a mess
             of paper clips, a Raggedy Ann
                      doll
    in her arms—sighs
             to pass the time.
Water seeps through the ceiling,
                      because upstairs
    the bathtub overflows, for
             Grandma has forgotten
                      the bath she’s drawn,
and on the stove the gas is high, the flames
             are heating up a pudding
     over which my opa whispers:
boil, boil, loyal rubble,
              follow me to the end of my life.


More Poems by Christopher Shannon