Poem for a Monday Morning: Mess

Good morning! Ready for your weekly dose of poetry?

The following is a poem by Todd Boss, who I have featured on here once before. He’s one of my favorites ever and I just can’t resist sharing another one of his incredible works with you.

So last time I posted a Todd Boss poem, it was in the form of a video and the poet himself was reading the poem. There’s no video of this next work; however, if you are in a place where you can do so, I strongly recommend you read the following out loud. There’s something about the way that Boss uses rhyme and repetition that resonates in a unique way when the poetry is spoken.

Todd Boss

Once when my mother was visiting without my dad, I shared “Mess” with her. I watched as she sat across from me, reading silently to herself. When she looked up her eyes were full of tears. Since then, I haven’t been able to read this poem without crying myself. I hope she is feeling loved today.


Todd Boss

I was banging our empty dinner dishes
self-righteously down on the kitchen
counter when she let the water run over.

“You asked me how,” she said.
I said,
“How what?” and reached to shut
the tap, but she stopped me, her nails
in my veins. The water was rolling
down the cabinetry in steaming glass
panes. We were already standing in a
puddle. I struggled, but she stayed me.
Her blue eyes on me, we stared
hard through the clogged pipe
of our marriage while the sink water
wept across the linoleum. It was raining
in the basement by now. I reached with
my other hand, but she caught that too,
and then we were joined like dancers
in some modern performance thing.

I wrenched away from her, squaring
off. I was pissed. “How what?” I hissed.

“Like this!” she said, and her open
hand slapping flat on the counter made
a spritz of the spill there: splat! “You
asked me how you should love me.”
Her hand on stone went slap! slap! slap!
At last she tore her eyes away.
I went
for the tap. I grabbed some towels. I
started to sop up the mess.
“Like this,”
she said again, as if I didn’t understand.
And that was when she turned on the tears.
It was as if there was no bottom
at the source of her distress. And yes,
I’ll dry them all if it takes me years.



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