The M.I.L.

July [3] 2008

(Poem)

modigliani-mil

Those things meant just to annoy

swarmed through my channel of ordinary thought

like popping hordes of hairy ghetto flies

with attitude.


Swarming were the secondary images

we try to forget or simply wish disappeared

like airport traffic police or Senator Phil Gramm

or home assembly instructions like these glyphs

written by a cow for my new overhead fan,

or paying the young lawyer phonetime

to goose the roofer back up the leaky roof–


The small irritants of normal life that grate,

the expensive food that arrives late

or the skinny kid in the No Fear cap

who mans the one carwash cash register,

spits when he speaks and cannot subtract,


whence my sweet and otherwise pleasing wife

lets drop an imminent weekend visit

by the M.I.L.–


“Aw trucks and ship!” I react

in language altered to protect the kids,

I just knew it was in the air,

could smell it like the baby’s diaper–

Mother-in-law (what a concept)

The M.I.L.– my old grey mill,

machinery to pulverize nature’s solids

driven entirely by wind,

and endlessly;

wheat & barley here,

life as we knew it

there…


I asked without hesitation

“Could you please not in a nice way

say we had planned to remain the same

this weekend, you know– unaffected?”


Maybe “unexposed” was the more polemic as

she’s apt to respond quicker to insult and injury.

Couldn’t we use the malaria excuse again?

Couldn’t we set the spare room on fire with her yarn?

Couldn’t we just say no, perhaps later, in virtual reality?


It’s no use says the wife.

Besides we’re due.

She’s on her way.


I cannot understand this blood rite

that actually would invite (yes, it’s epidemic)

the M.I.L.’s free weekend passage including

bedstay, food sharing, even physical contact

into the veins of one’s private and undisturbed life,

like some lethal robust African virus

infecting the airways with a gene-splicing level-four

green and foul smelling sludge–


but naturally the wife won’t budge…


(minutes later) “Oh M.I.L.,

so nice to see you again.

Don’t know why the kids are crying.”

1993

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