"To my wash-stand" begins with a close physical examination of the poet's bathroom sink, in which the poet acknowledges that the "song / of water" he hears "is a song / entirely in my head," and he moves from there into an imaginative re-creation of the morning ablutions of the poor,
to what they have
and to what they do not
The "flow of water" from the stand's two faucets "occasions invertible counterpoints," bringing forth in vivid detail the sordid realities and privations of a class for whom the morning washing-up is an occasion of attentiveness to the luxuries they lack.
Zukofsky's short poetry of the early 1930s, much of which has a distinctly political bent, was not collected until 1941's 55 Poems, published by a small press in Prairie City, Illinois. . . .