Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Five of Wands β€” La Corte dei Tarocchi

Artist: Anna Maria D’OnofrioAnna Maria D’Onofrio


The father of a nineteen-forties dollhouse family
left long languishing in my mother’s attic asks,
β€œIs this all there is?”—


Is this all there is, these separate beds
with plastic quilts draped neatly down the sides
and pillows firmer than my head?


The children’s toys went from popular
to out of date to vintage to antique
as the twins stood, unable to kneel,
trapped in a childhood of white lace dresses and pressed pants.


Our other, an infant, tied to Nanny’s apron with a thread
has neither wet nor cried through all these years.
Mother never held the stiff thing in her slender, hollow arms.


The toilet in the bathroom never flushedβ€”
tho I do recall the year my daughter sat there,
skirt hiked up for all to see
as we took turns sleeping in the bathtub.


The living room never saw a mess of toys or spilled tea.
The piano never sang a note. The hearth never roared and
the mantle clock has told the same time
going on three-quarters of a century.


For one brief flash of of time
I watched my wife in the kitchen
as she cranked the wringer on the washer almost daily
and swiveled the sink handle.


But the basin is dry. There is no drain.
The icebox, the oven, the cupboards all are sealed.
Here we sit, legs out straight for over thirty years,
chairs pushed back from the empty table.
I wonder upon what it is that others dine
and Nanny, always standing, holds the baby.


La Corte dei Tarocchi answers with the Five of Wandsβ€”


A punctuated equilibrium of dust
rejoices in the chaos of chubby hands
three times a century.


One day your house’s pressboard walls will crumble
into something-that-has-never-been.
Only in that moment will you know
these days of waiting came
not because you were put aside
but because you were loved.

2 Responses

  1. Cassandra022 says:

    I have this deck in the mail on the way to me and I can’t wait!

    Quite liked the poem :]

  2. Jessica says:

    Thank you. You will love the deck. I hope. Because I do. πŸ™‚

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