Vanilla cream curdles in blackberry tea;
I didn't know.
Dish soap suds, scented
With childhood and artificial lemon,
Sting my hands,
I shaved a sliver from my thumb with a paring knife
Making breakfast for my mother yesterday morning.
The eggs were an apology, the cut
A kind of accidental penance.
Prayers rise like the oily bubbles
Floating from the lather, invocations
To the slippery gods of Ajax and chipped saucers.
Is there a patron saint of wayward daughters?
I relish the gentle burn of soap scum and ponder
The scope of what I do not know.
Two hundred miles north,
Twin skyscrapers bloom, blanket the city with cinders,
And two little girls emerging from a rotted tenement
In the projects, daughters of a dead crack-whore,
Are rescued by a passing stranger.