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Exhibiting Humanity

by Chris Sorrenti

Kitchen blinds are brought down for cleaning
with years of vaporized grease
landed to harden on plastic ribs
to soak in a bath of Lestoil
for an unspecified time
until grime can be scrubbed away easily

It’s opening night
though the story rehearsed years on end
with no covering on the windows
they feel naked now
but in a good kind of way
a man - a woman -
their two fur babies
who occasionally must be scolded
with a spray of water
from recycled Windex bottle
having leapt up onto food packed counters

Happily accepting the roles they play
he and she take turns preparing supper
the cooking room
brightly lit for all passers by to view
imagining this small stage
might someday survive to be a
full scale exhibit in a museum
or a series of enlarged black & white photos
at the local art gallery
cleverly titled Culinary Domestica

From second floor bedroom windows
to the right and left
neighbors across the road peek in
can only be reminded of their own humanity
seeing themselves framed –
reflected - refracted within the confines
of sink - fridge and stove

And if they check in
only a few performances later
they’ll view Christmas lights strung up
to give character to the portal
a friendly hello to the audience
no matter whoever
how many they may be

Weeks later after a successful run
the blinds long since been cleaned
and Christmas over
but no way to return them
to their place or origin
with the decorations still pinned to the frame
the play will go on
with a slightly different performance
every night
until finally it’s decided
the blinds will go back up
and the curtain must come down

© 2009

1,290 hits as of July 2020


Posted on 04/12/2009
Copyright © 2020 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 04/12/09 at 03:06 PM

There's such a striking, compelling story told here, made even better by being put to a a really nicely put-together poetic form. I especially love the third stanza.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 04/13/09 at 12:27 AM

Marvelous play you have given us here. Warm details of daily life together now in plain view. I, too, adore stanza three! My POTD vote!

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 04/13/09 at 12:49 PM

you weave a wonderful tale, Chris. which only goes to reinforce the notion that a play must still go on, no matter the grime piling on the blinds or the amount of spectators peeking in.

Posted by Tony Young on 04/14/09 at 06:30 AM

Excellent performance throughout this piece Chris, "culinary domestica", says so much and the final stanza is brilliant...

Posted by Bruce W Niedt on 04/14/09 at 04:02 PM

An excellent narrative poem that teases our voyeurism while warming the heart in an unexpected way - well-done, buddy! d:-)

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 04/14/09 at 07:11 PM

The mundane lifted to enchanting...nice, nice work here, Chris. Delighted.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 04/15/09 at 01:10 AM

A warm and captivating view of apartment living! Oh, that all views would be so pleasant!

Posted by Kris Mara on 04/16/09 at 01:59 PM

there's no better art form, I think...this is a great read...especially for those of us who love to peek into bare windows while driving by -- to see how others might be living inside (in the interesting way, not the creepy way!) :)

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 04/16/09 at 02:12 PM

I feel so safely human now. Everything about this poem fills me with oxygen. Like an open window, your writing brings fresh air and a divine peek into the extraordinary features of ordinariness.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 07/19/10 at 04:20 PM

You had me peering curiously into that portal from a few thousand miles south, thinking how familiar the scene is, wondering if those other observers knew just who was the star of this stage and not really knowing the well-lit imagination of the producer-director. Fun read, Chris. You took the everyday and made it dramatic and fun at the same time. Thanks, buddy.

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