Michael Graber

A Poem about a Stain

A Line

for my Grandmother Jewell

Still it knocks
and calls, getting higher
pitch until you respond.
And you've scrubbed
and scrubbed wearing the carpet
down to its knuckles. Still it knocks--
the stain caused by your husband's stroke,
made from shaving cream that frothed
from his armpits like lard
the day the crooked stilts that hold the house
threatened to give out as he hammered the walls and floor
against his brittle bones age had made moot.
You didn't know he was dying,
though he'd crooned for weeks.
Each morning you shampoo and blow dry
what dissolved immediately
five years ago.
You say if caressed
the fist won't knock at night.

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The 2River View, 3_4 (Summer 1999)