I lie in bed and try to understand the vertical blinds—
the way the vinyl slats glide and pivot
in their steel track, gears turning in axels to filter light
or else to block it.
Such fragile engineering, a complicated marriage
of pull and release, and when a clip or a spacer goes awry,
the sneer of taut cables and the thwap of plastic
against glass. Muffled cries, abrupt detachments,
and a clatter of fractured blades. The moon
crashing on my floor.
Rattling in her grave, my mother rails and derides me—
Where’s your screwdriver? Can’t you do something
about your father?— while his teetering ghost
fumbles with the cord.