What We Undo
“I’m afraid I can’t quite remember it,” Alice said, very politely.
“In that case, we start afresh.”
We always color our beginnings white,
the slink of a sheet rolled
in its glossy typewriter,
or the squared-off canvas
we stretch to fit the wood.
We begin with a certain emptiness,
things that can be filled.
A new house beams its eggshell
walls, a church almost,
or lined stacks of sliced bread
desperate for jam.
The party begins
with rows of empty glasses.
We know the red that colors
them but the hushed gleam
is a promise more of lips,
their pink snowflake patterns
and the hands that pinch the stem.
But there are no beginnings like this,
no pallid whiteness to startle into life,
no bleached sky looking for its season.
Instead a thrift store trunk
with a mossy doll inside.
The well-traveled box that held
dishes, then sheets.
The hallways and doors
we each used to pass through.