Joan Gelfand

Branded

 

Lowing, she is jolted. Free roaming once, now,  branded

 

“Triple SSS” ranch. She masticates new grass, 

 

Her bell clanging a song she longs to escape.

Up in San Francisco, the young flourish, workforce warriors 

 

Pray to survive, to preserve back, wrists, eyes.

 

Tied to screens and cubes, they brandish

 

Salesforce backpack, Twitter snow cap, Uber baseball jacket.

 

Google thermos, Facebook key chain, Apple everything, 


Logos of belonging. They relish their bells. Glued to notifications,

 

Texts, mail. Munching power bars, standouts in their crowded fields, 

 

Take the searing poker bravely, weigh tradeoffs. 

 

Paycheck, health insurance, babies. 

 

A chance at the payoff, a wild ride, early retirement.

 

At dinnertime, they taste the hint of something

 

Burnt under the sniff of grassy air, hear the faint

 

Jangle of the chain, the distant sound of bells. 

Everything in Its Place

1: Nested measuring cups are a set of Russian dolls.

 

German knives fulfill their assignation, sharp when you need the slice.

 

The cutting board performs its duty without complaint.

 

Plates and bowls stacked, curtains aligned to just half-height.

 

It wasn’t always thus. Bottomless piles, scattered bills 

 

Mixed with poem fragments, school schedules, everything askew. 

 

2: You did change me, although not as much as you hoped.

 

The day we moved in, you pointed to refrigerator crispers:

 

Right side, root vegetables. Left, leafy greens.

 

Your call to order was jarring. I balked. 

 

3: Over time, I came around, adopted a ‘neatness practice.’

 

Clothes hung in the closet, shirts a veritable rainbow of color and hue, 

 

Skirts by length, dresses by pattern and occasion.

 

Even the blender rests quietly in its drawer, spoons are sorted, small and large.

 

The chaos receded, though never erased.

 

4: When you leave (business, always business) I must admit – I lapse

 

Like a Catholic in a bar. Dishes piled, scattered carrot peels, coffee grounds 

 

Clog the sink. Cups and bowls migrate to rooms where they have no truck.

 

When you return, I relinquish a laissez-faire,

 

Succumb to organizing, allowing pleasure

 

Of everything in its place.

tiffany jolowicz Monday on Michigan Island, Yesterday, the Day Before, Two Thousand Years