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P.J. Nights

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.

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