March 5, 2011

The Very Nervous Family by Sabrina Orah Mark

Some how I enjoy this poem , I mean I really like it..... please comment how you feel about this poem.
The Very Nervous Family
by Sabrina Orah Mark
Mr. Horowitz clutches a bag of dried apricots to his chest. Although the sun is shining, there will probably be a storm. Electricity will be lost. Possibly forever. When this happens the very nervous family will be the last to starve. Because of the apricots. "Unless," says Mrs. Horowitz, "the authorities confiscate the apricots." Mr. Horowitz clutches the bag of dried apricots tighter. He should've bought two bags. One for the authorities and one for his very nervous family. Mrs. Horowitz would dead bolt the front door to keep the authorities out, but it is already bolted. Already dead. She doesn't like that phrase. Dead bolt. It reminds her of getting shot before you even have a chance to run. "Everyone should have at least a chance to run," says Mrs. Horowitz. "Don't you agree, Mr. Horowitz?" Mrs. Horowitz always refers to her husband as Mr. Horowitz should they ever one day become strangers to each other. Mr. Horowitz agrees. When the authorities come they should give the Horowitzs a chance to run before they shoot them for the apricots. Eli Horowitz, their very nervous son, rushes in with his knitting. "Do not rush," says Mr. Horowitz, "you will fall and you will die." Eli wanted ice skates for his birthday. "We are not a family who ice skates!" shouts Mrs. Horowitz. She is not angry. She is a mother who simply does not wish to outlive her only son. Mrs. Horowitz gathers her very nervous son up in her arms, and gently explains that families who ice skate become the ice they slip on. The cracks they fall through. The frost that bites them. "We have survived this long to become our own demise?" asks Mrs. Horowitz. "No," whispers Eli, "we have not." Mr. Horowitz removes one dried apricot from the bag and nervously begins to pet it when Mrs. Horowitz suddenly gasps. She thinks she may have forgotten to buy milk. Without milk they will choke on the apricots. Eli rushes to the freezer with his knitting. There is milk. The whole freezer is stuffed with milk. Eli removes a frozen half pint and glides it across the kitchen table. It is like the milk is skating. He wishes he were milk. Brave milk. He throws the half pint on the floor and stomps on it. Now the milk is crushed. Now the milk is dead. Now the Horowitzs are that much closer to choking. Mr. and Mrs. Horowitz are dumbfounded. Their very nervous son might be a maniac. He is eight. God is punishing them for being survivors. God has given them a maniac for a son. All they ask is that they not starve, and now their only son is killing milk. Who will marry their maniac? No one. Who will mother their grandchildren? There will be no grandchildren. All they ask is that there is something left of them when they are shot for the apricots, but now their only son is a maniac who will give them no grandchildren. Mr. Horowitz considers leaving Eli behind when he and Mrs. Horowitz run for their lives.
POET Sabrina Orah Mark (1975 - )
Sabrina Orah Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Barnard College, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD from the University of Georgia. She is the author of the book-length poetry collections The Babies (2004), winner of the Saturnalia Book Prize chosen by Jane Miller, and Tsim Tsum (2009), as well as the chapbook Walter B.’s Extraordinary Cousin Arrives for a Visit & Other Tales from Woodland Editions. The poems in The Babies are haunted by invented characters and fabulous details; mysterious fates, wars, and historical events are hinted at, and characters navigate relationships and terrors in a series of surreally twisted prose poems. Commenting on her unique style, Mark, in an interview for Apostrophe Cast, explained that her maternal family speaks Yiddish and that her syntax has been influenced by their speech patterns.
 Mark’s awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her poems have been included in Best American Poetry 2007 and the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006).

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this, Marisa.

    I love this line: "Mrs. Horowitz always refers to her husband as Mr. Horowitz should they ever one day become strangers to each other."

    Have you read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer? The writing style is similar to The Very Nervous Family; they both give the reader the feeling of simultaneously being pulled into each character's increasingly desperate mental/emotional state while also standing outside and seeing them clearly. I love this style of writing... that feeling of being right on the edge of losing control completely. Possibly forever...


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