Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

My Sister Hears Voices in the New Plumbing

by Lois Marie Harrod

When she turns on the bath water, voices spit and flurry,
sometimes Jackie Gleason’s Kramden shouting Alice, Alice . . .
sometimes her friend Connie sputtering on
about her grandson Troy this and Troy that,
too often her gay ex now calling himself Nathan Bucklaw
spewing on about the piano flub she made twenty-three years ago
when she accompanied his golden flute in that Kuhlau concert in Fredonia,
don’t I remember? the one Mom and Dad attended,
sometimes Dad sputters his Our Father . . . Our Father,
no longer able to art himself into heaven,
why can’t she forget?
quite often Mother in her ecclesiastical sizzle,
sit still, stop wiggling in the pew.
Voices for the twenty minutes it takes to fill the tub,
the huge new tub she found on the internet,
private font spacious enough for her Volkswagen
which also scolds and spits its own language.
How she savors those jets pumping and re-pumping hot water,
paradise is an everlasting soak, she gushes,
and it is–as long as she sits.

And so she sits all Saturday afternoon,
listening to Lucia di Lammermoor flowing from the Met.
Other voices spilling then. Not hers.
She hasn’t sung for years.

Afterwards, she says, the voices hush
and she stops hurting
for one, maybe two, hours.