Porcelain Prisioner by Marlyn Hammick

Grandpa hands me his stick, stretches
for the cup - the last one, lift it child -
as if I don’t know what to do, as if
this is the first time the woman
who lives at its waist has lifted

her skirts in my face,
has begged to be freed
from the kitchen dresser
in Monkey Tree House
where she keeps company

with odd buttons, collar studs,
a shilling for the meter, recalling
how rumba shakers in Panama City
cut at the isthmus of her dreams.

- the last one, lift it child - of course, I reply
and the lady and I follow the cup, stick and coffin.

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