Jehanne Dubrow

House of the Small Dictatorship

Tripe soup for supper: because a man’s belly
must be full when he surveys the terrain of the
kitchen table.

Look, there’s the woman he married and there
his daughter’s porcelain face.

And before the soup, a glass of limonada to whet
the tongue like a knife.

Sometimes he takes his coffee on the terrace.
Sometimes he takes his wife.

The radio plays at a fingersnap. The paper opens
on its own.

If there are cigars, they clip themselves. They
light into an orange tip.

Go cut papaya and bring it here, he says.

And other proclamations: that dogs belong
underfoot, that girls to the rule of crinoline.

He tells the guava tree to stop its stench of
garbage. He tells the parrot to keep things shut.

And though the fruit keeps stinking, the bird
still shits the windowsill, inside the house
a tyranny of slippers.

A tyranny of sherbet for dessert.