Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 7
Fall 2013

Cracking Open

by Frances Payne Adler

Mothers are dressing their children in bulletproof vests 
to go to school, and the ceiling’s on the floor. 
The air has turned yellow, and my friend has to have a faucet
put in her stomach. The hinges between the ghost world and 
the mortal one are cracking open. 

Grey men in white suits play chess in the desert sand 
with the hairless bodies of young women and men, 
and decide they’ll use their blood to run our cars—
it will be more honest. They’ll sell real guns in toy stores.


—From Making of a Matriot, Red Hen Press (2003); reprinted here by author’s permission


SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Frances Payne Adler

Photo of Frances Payne Adler by Tey Roberts
Photograph by
Tey Roberts

is the author of five books: Making of a Matriot, Raising The Tents, and three collaborative poetry-photography books and exhibitions shown in U.S. capitol buildings.

Her current work-in-progress, Dare I Call You Cousin, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is in collaboration with Israeli artists, photographer Michal Fattal and videographer Yossi Yacov.

Adler, Professor Emerita and Founder of CSU Monterey Bay’s Creative Writing and Social Action Program, lives in Portland, OR.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury