Ancestor – Daisy Bassen

To begin with, the carp in the bathtub
Has just gotten acclimated, started to loll
Against the upright back, cast iron,
Taking in the short-necked faucet,

Thin cake of waning soap, not sweet,
Mother to poor lather. Wall-eyed,
The carp is a horrid mermaid, gunmetal
And dull, thick as a girder, a chalk stub.

This is the center of the home. Atlas
With claw feet, water loose around him.
At intervals away, the black closet filled
With black clothes, a worry of widows

Ready to come out. The lazy Susan
On the marble-topped table, coffee creams
And Jordan almonds strike a balance.
The kitchen drawer puts up with twine,

Jars of pennies, gargoyle candles, a hammer,
Antlered and eager to butt heads, wise about fish
And their frailties, the deception of scales.
Farthest, the streets of Flushing, the hobbler

On her way out for some bread, ankles dainty,
Competent to stand against eight lanes,
Enough bone left in her wrist for assault
And canning. She preserves.


*Appeared first in The Delmarva Review, 2018

Daisy Bassen is a poet and practicing physician who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, and [PANK] among other journals. Born and raised in New York, she lives in Rhode Island with her family.

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