Parable: What does so much for so little

~ after “Warning Mother” by Leonora Carrington

Only those who make mistakes
could aspire to wisdom:
           the finger singed by flame
remembers what the stove hissed
in the morning, before even a single
thread of smoke wounded
            the alarm on the ceiling.
And yet, a life spent in service
can turn one into a ghost: its slippers
shuffle in the hallway,
            stumbling over
joints of furniture, vegetables
fallen from the colander, the family
cat. Every fish
            out of water
retches with the effort to keep
safe, to remain
          alive: it splits
itself in two– even then, thinking of
how many mouths there are to feed.

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