Emma Howell
It Is the Morning of the Day of Bleach
    — for Galway Kinnell

It is the morning of the day
of bleach, mid-month, day after
payday     full moon     & we are
cleaning the house     gutting
the squash
preparing the soup for our
Soon we’ll go down to the water
to salt our selves clean.
Meanwhile I set pumpkin with
gergelin to boil.  Meanwhile
I try to remember what my
mother showed me —
how lavender is the taste
of purity
and we grow it in herb
boxes to remember how we are
little girls and sleeping still
whispers     this is the prayer of
safe homes,     I live all day with
the Book of Nightmares in my ear
whispered toward my womb.
With nightmares my mother cradled
me to sleep. With nightmares I sing
I raise the bread I will eat all
week.  Between assaults I come in,
my empty home lays hold of me, shrugs
my bags off, unchains my feet.  The house
whispers    calm yourself     eat your bread
take your dose of nightmare sweet air.

- Salvador, Brasil, 2001