smoking bravado, burning opposition
The townsfolk know him only
from his poems, his morning cameo
in the window as he waves her away.
Alise, his merry street sweeper,
his crackpot camera to a world
beyond uterine walls, it is she
who brings him words
on wrapper scraps collected
from hollows where they’ve blown,
with her simple preference
for pebbles, in her savoring
of salt whispers over the marsh.
She gathers stories from flowers
nodding in riotous crowds,
learns the cartography of bees
the songs of cicadas and rain,
her skirts weather-twisted, earlobes
dripping pagan luck -- the witch
who spills the day for an evening
of champagne fireflies, of skin on skin
the cool and color of blancmange.
In her kiss, his zen daughter
in his verse, the algorithm to her chaos.
The firm nothings of their laughter
tie the hermit to a solitary gypsy,
join them in a carnival of coincidence
and his knees have forgotten at last
the pain of begging
yet another pretty charity.
©2003 by P.J. Nights
P.J. Nights lives in coastal Maine, teaches physics and astronomy further inland, and is the senior poetry editor of MiPo. Her poetry has appeared in
various online and print journals, including Animus, Penumbra, Apples &
Oranges, MiPo, Slow Trains, The Green Tricycle, Lotus Blooms Journal,
Steel Point Quarterly, the muse apprentice guild, and in the textbook
Language of Prejudice. She is currently co-editing a print anthology
of poetry by women on the Web, with CE Laine and Dorothy Mienko.
"smoking bravado, burning opposition" first appeared in MiPo Print.