The 2River View 16.3 (Spring 2012)

Sally Van Doren


Whoever impeached my son, whoever
punched my son, whoever collapsed
on my son, breaking the brittle
cartoon appliquéd to our front door—
I forgive you. Your rash wheezing, though,
is no substitute for doing the breakfast dishes.
We dawdle at the hospital, eyeing the reclusive
personnel who stalk the emergency room
without name tags. The shrill whistle
of the ambulance metabolizes our
genetic predisposition to nurture. In this vial,
his soul’s magma coagulates with the slab
of sentimentality I threw in. I threw it in
hoping that it would thwart the condensing process.
I threw it in, unmediated, without the silly man’s interference.
It was a risk and now I wait to see if our porcelain iris
will expand or contract. If you would like to join me
on this indistinct stoop, then take the thorn
out of your cleft chin and have a seat.


Trapped in incentive alley
the fuming board game
revised its diffident warehouse
and strutted out into the membrane
ignoring the undercurrents of flame
and adrenaline. The magnet
zipped in its larynx elongated
and with each gulp coins and
jewelry flew to its throat.
With binoculars it was possible
to detect the receding compulsion,
that urge, some might call it,
to climax again and again.
Here, take this tablet if you
can’t yet live the allusion.
This goblet’s tenured.  There’s
no mystique about it. If you
check the watermark on the quit deed,
you will know your eyes are dilated
and your personal aquarium
is ready for your morning dip.
The tide is inconsolable.

Sally Van Doren curates the Sunday Poetry Series for the St. Louis Poetry Center. Sex at Noon Taxes (LSU Press) won the 2008 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her next collection, Possessive, is forthcoming from LSU Press in fall 2012. “Preposition” is featured as an animated film in the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere. contact