Nicole Runs Her Fingers Through Her Hair
Like a willow
branch that must rise
with the evening
wind, she raises her hand
and runs her fingers
through her hair.
Each time her hand rises,
anchors itself in my throat
and I sink into a sea
Now she is the willow;
a moment ago,
she was a chalk blue heron
with black plume eyeliner
the wavy clouds of hair
with grey-tinted feathers.
her olivine eyes never rise
to meet mine.
In the crimson hall of the Royal Academy stands
the Olympian statue of proud Perseus
in a youthful, demi-god stance.
His unsheathed sword, with blood
trickling down its edge, points
to the ground, where a flood
of admirers gather to see the severed head
clutched by ophidian strands
of once venomous vipers. And yet, no trace
of loss, regret or sorrow lies
on the petrifying Gorgon’s face.
Only the upcurved lips reveal the bone
bare fact of her victory over Athena
and her hero forever trapped in stone.
As I Watch the Table at the Last Dinner of the Year
The golden flames of candles melt like wax
and cover crystal glasses, scalloped bone
china with necklace floral patterns of flax-
hued roses, ivy green vines, and mallow-toned
thistles. The diners’ lips are laced with sweet
compliments of the lamb that’s all but gone,
chased by righteous views on the rich, the poor,
the rising taxes. Drunken mirth…And yet,
the growing shadows of empty bottles spread
over scattered silver. The broken bread
crumbles, and drops of crimson stain the white
cloth when a guest rises to kiss the host,
betraying through subtle gesture to most,
the time has come to wish them all good night.