Time For a New Pair of Shoes
I have become familiar
with swollen tongues,
crooked and scarred
with black burns;
there is fear that grabs
hold of my neck.
I've looked into eyes,
that sting like needles,
lids heavy and rims dark
from lack of sleep;
it is hunger that pours
from a broken cup.
I feel laces bind
and fray at the end
my soles are worn,
fingertips feel rough
against soft leather,
I leave scuff marks
on hardwood floors.
I imagine her name is Marguerite,
she plays mandolin or piano;
no, it is a guitar; it has to be guitar
the only instrument capable
of drawing the fragrance from her hair.
There's a name carved in the wood,
barely legible, Davis, she whispers.
Orchids flow in the fold of her skirt,
a sparrow curves around an ill moon.
I imagine her asleep in a pool of green
on Via Del Corso.
The city drops, she cradles
it in the crook of her arm,
there are many reasons to fall in love.
Alfred Hitchcock gives Cary Grant Stage Direction
Be prepared, she will arrive promptly,
smoking a cigarette, to meet your train.
It will be 1:15, you will be brave, yet
afraid, midday makes you nervous.
Look both ways for her; to the right,
past newsvendors, to the left down
a narrow aisle above the rails, your
eyes slightly moist, mouth tense.
She will notice you in five minutes,
glance warily in the opposite direction,
it is a test. Her approach will be slow
at first; steps punctuated by your breath,
resist the impulse to run, wait until she
walks past and puts her cigarette out,
then she'll turn up the stairs to Richelieu;
that is your cue to leave the station,
hail a cab and give the driver seventy-five
francs; tell him to drive west as fast as he can
2003 Alex Stolis