Poetry

Sitting Room with Circus Lion

The lion p – a – c – e – d
between the glass panes, eyes
dull and smoke pouring languidly
from its bristly maw.

Clop-clop of heavy paws.
Pallid skin, worn to the thread in places,
and hanging in folds.
A shadow of old magnificence.

Bars dissolved, pulled
into the lion’s world. The carnies
gave us tickets in turn
for free power.

Cowed to the whip, beaten
tread. Only a hint of past
magnificence in its growl. My skin
itched as I sensed its ennui.

The summer that I was ten
I found the lion in the sitting room
instead of outside, behind the garden fence
in the field, next to the red and gold circus tent.

 

The Golem and the Girl

Born or remade
out of fertile clay
of the coastal lowlands,
out of stagnant clay,
in squelchy corridors.

Shadows shudder and reshape
in the girl’s doorway—a clay figure
fired up, made hard
by rage.

Gaping holes for eyes,
filled to the brim with liquor,
seeping through the shell,
stains showing on the outside.

She grasps for the swooping beam,
the lighthouse that guards her shore.
But the light fails.

Fury pours
out of a vessel
into a vessel,
grinds,
until hairline cracks
soil her mortar.

Another shore, across the strait,
her only escape,
where bygone lanterns
light rocky corridors,
where she becomes
Mary or Rebecca.

 

Soothing Things with a Hint of Melancholy

  1. Grass, not the freshly-cut kind, but the kind that has been drying in the late-afternoon sun’s warmth.
  2. The oily, herbaceous sweetness of rosehips decaying on the bush in the late summer.
  3. The simultaneous hiss of the espresso machine with the dispersing earthy citrus-and-almond aroma of freshly-brewed coffee.
  4. The round piano tones of Carole King’s album Tapestry, with its lyrics that softly enter your thoughts as if on stocking feet and make you take stock of your life.
  5. Pouring more gravy over a cottage pie about halfway through and pausing for a few seconds before you continue eating.