– Jane Lin –



For the brother, the garage door
panel punched in. The cleaver waved
to silence the arguments.

For the sister, the bent ladle.
The vinyl gloves thrown down
after suctioning the mother's throat.

Agonal           breaths             slow.

The device meters the toe,

For the youngest, the splintered
chop block. Knife abandons the dice,
hacks the oak slab.
                                        Angry piston

of the weeping arm.


For the father, the break when one force
is removed, equal and opposite, and he falters
against absence sudden and absolute.

For the father a last night spent draining the lungs
when no colleague would come. “You're killing her!”
he'd shouted in the hospice ward.

Daybreak, how his daughter arrived with her own
diagnosis, chastised, raged, like her mother. Afternoon
death, shuffled head down into the wall of it.

Now this, the sleeve dipped in sauce as he reaches
across the kitchen table. The suck of the mouth
against the sloped soup bowl. His wife restored,

smiling. Her photo eyes follow him.


the knife the agent of the hand, the hand
the agent of the mouth, its cry, the knife

year of
               breakage        implosion     body
         capsule       ornament        shatter

the downturned mouth         deride       deny
                dismay         detach            descend




The irreparable remnants. The wood, the spoon. The person
restored to a functioning member of family. Who cooks, who eats,
who poops. Washes dishes by hand, baking soda in a pickled beet jar
by the sink. If you need a metaphor, use the bow, how the strands
will break loose under pressure a few hairs at a time while the whole
continues to draw voice from the string.