Martha Rhodes

Warehouses of palaces,

Warehouses of gruel,

Warehouses of lost sheep,

Tall columns of confusion.

Where are we now?

In the state of Massachusetts,

In the city of Lowell,

Inside of a smokestack,

Inside of a cyclone burning.

Inside of a cafe on 495,

Without coffee and money,

Without warmth or table,

Smell of johnnycakes and butter.

Where are we now?

Inside the Boston Public Library

In Copley Square, in Boston,

in Massachusetts, walking the stacks

Without books, without paper,

Without folios, without decimals.

Now, where are we?

Tall columns of however it happens.

Are we there yet?

We are driving toward the North Shore,

Toward Cape Ann,

Chased by green flies

And now near Maine,


We are in a brand new Mercury,

Black with red trim,

No speedometer,

No gas, no feet on pedals.

You, where are you now?

Inside our cat’s milk bowl?

In a kitchen?

On the floor?

In a ranch house.

On acreage.

Many azaleas,

Many peonies,

Familiar mother on the terrace,

Her gin and tonic contained in a glass,

Silver sipping spoon,

Cherry tree branches,

Many Japanese beetles,

All seen clearly.

Where now?

We are inside etcetera.

We are in a place of stutters

And syllables.

We are very busy

With potholders

Yet, at the same time,

We can’t be identified as

Useful, (but don’t take that personally).

Where are we now?

Following the sea in and out.

We are a long drink of water,

We are full to the brim,

We are hopeful we will stop

Soon. We are kneeling,

We are bowing, we are in a real

Good holding pattern.

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