It’s breakfast and everyone has to play
their own roles in keeping the house
away from those who hate them
dearly. The adulteress prepares to batter
some pancakes, and cooks a stack
topped with slices of cold butter.
The tax collector kisses her with a promise
that he shall return home richer
and cleaner, with the new car he bought
from a commission. The prodigal son,
calls to the telephone but no one answers,
most especially his older brother
sulking in his silk bed in the attic.
The daughter, like her mother,
wants another head, another day.
They must have survived each other
years before the house was empty,
and they will, when supper’s ready.