Clean

Hear the author read this poem

Still, against the heavy wind,
the spoon of cherry wood

no longer moves
the liquid in the pot.

Locked in the lamplight sweat
of the eternal night winter,

the disturbed quiet is quite safe—
suffocates the closed room.

Looking out, all that can be
seen is a knothole in the oak tree.

Gone is the fig, the oyster, the mango,
the red candle—its wick.

Gone is the bean, the blackberry, the carrot,
the parsnip, the horn of the rhinoceros.

The cupboard is both
emptied and latched.

The man in his blister heat
will not come back.

The kitchen is so clean,
everything’s in its nook.

Presented by

Susan Hahn's recent collections include Mother in Summer (2002), Self/Pity (2005), and the forthcoming The Scarlet Ibis. She is the editor of TriQuarterly.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In