The Zohar on my shelf. What good
to a Roman Catholic? Some kind of atheist, I
dismember my altar. The last supper I ate
at home with my son across a vintage table,
its carcass discovered in an alley’s sunken doorway
years ago, one leg broken. Imagine wood glue.
Resurrection in a Venice Beach apartment. Now
I kick the legs out from under it, like the dog’s
arthritic bellyflop. It’s in my son’s face.
The morning it was euthanized. The meal
we won’t share here tonight. He laughs
the way kids laugh when they know
what lives four leagues under the sea,
glowing in the dark. Ridiculous, this grief.
Over a table (we play Scrabble. We drink water.
We open Christmas gifts. We read. Play cards. We
color Easter eggs. Blow out candles. We argue
over homework. Write in journals. Wear pajamas.
We mix batter for cinnamon muffins. We) feel
the wood is a tree. It’s not rotten like a human
corpse. Deranged, discarded, replaced
with emptiness. There is so much space
to create. I slide my futon mattress
into its new corner under the window.
Privacy. How strange. I show my son the image,
a hand-carved shoji screen from India,
made of teak. To hide my bed, make room for
guitars and an easel in the living room. Sex
in the dining room. Finally, the oddly situated
ceiling fan is centered over something.
It makes me laugh. More death.

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LISA RAE CUNNINGHAM is a massage therapist. She lives in Los Angeles with her son.

10 responses to “Resurrection in a Venice Beach Apartment”

  1. I love this one!

    It’s always a joy reading your poetry 🙂

  2. jmblaine says:

    Guitars are made
    from trees, it seems
    & we are made from dirt
    & mud & blood & sweat
    & breath & sweet sex
    & in the meantime
    we play
    Scrabble in pink pajamas
    & light candles
    forty leagues beneath
    the sea.

    Sister LRC,

    • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

      JMB, I was just thinking of you last night, driving on the Pacific Coast Highway in the dark, post-vocal drills in my car. It was a pretty moon.

      Trees. I spent my twenties obsessively, intricately drawing and painting trees. And now, I spend my thirties obsessively, (hopefully eventually) intricately playing guitar. Humans. The things we do for fun.

      No good climbing trees around here, but leagues and leagues of sea.

      Thank you for the kind words, brother. Love love love.

  3. Reno Romero says:

    You know, Lisa, for as long as I can remember I’ve always liked poetry. Of course, there are many reasons. But one reason is how it has the potential of saying so much with few words, a small space. It’s the economy of it all. The stripping of it all. You have to nail it or it’s a no go regardless of how strong the emotion. Your poem is a perfect example of why I like poetry. The imagery is thoughtful, humble, rustic. The words are calm and honest. The story is there. A snapshot. I could go on and on, Lisa. But this is why. This is why poetry is still one of the most prettiest girls on the block. True. Take care and thanks.

    • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

      “This is why poetry is still one of the most prettiest girls on the block.” Reno, if a screenplay is the prom queen, a poem is the valedictorian with her hair down and her glasses off, and you are her true-lovin’ man. As far as poets go, you are on my list of favorites, so your thoughtful response is such a delight. Thanks for the read, my friend.

  4. LRC, you make me want to go on a poetry-writing binge. You make it look so effortless! You know I’ve always commented on how much I love and admire the boldness of your work, and when you pare it down in these poetic lines it packs even more punch.

    • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

      Cynthia, I am happy audience for your poetry binge. Let’s do it. Let The Poets Revolution begin. Do you know I just saw a billboard for a show called Playboy? It’s time to bring back sexy. I’m talking Shakespeare sexy. Say something I haven’t heard. Please.

  5. Gloria says:

    You really do make this look effortless. I just got all emotional – over a table!

    I’ve missed your pretty words.

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