And when they fought, my father said,
in those day-lit, lamp-lit rooms, him bowed
into the ceremonies of the newspapers,
the sound would be of her slamming
closed the cupboard doors, the front door,
cups and plates smashed into the deep sink
like a sudden downpour of hailstones.
He would turn the pages very slowly,
so as not to disturb her, mindful of knives
where buttery spuds still plumed on the blade.

And once peering over the rim of the page
he calmly offered, ‘Would you prefer a hammer?’
so that the whole thing started up again.
For three days and nights hinges turned over
the world, soft mortar crumbled somewhere
down behind the dresser, and from the eaves
the nesting starlings darted and sprung in fright,
and raised the weathered roof like a sparking flare.