"You were staring up at the umbrella ribs/when dusk was deciding to rain."
Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series
Need to Know
13: Free Form
12: The Necessary Ear
11: The Necessary Eye
Issue 10: Out on a Limb
Issue 9: The Missing Body
Issue 8: The Lily
Issue 7: Passages
Issue 6: No More Tears
To William Morris
Will you infect me?
Rest easy, maid.
I will infect you tonight.
Will you infect another
as you journey forth?
My journey is long.
And I have but small legs.
Yet I shall infect.
I shall infect you again.
You thought you left it in New York,
what can disappear against rough bark,
old flowering trees, dogwoods, cherries.
what keeps so many things shut and folded,
wings folded, buds shut,
if that is the season, if that is the must,
flattened glance of sunlight on the bricks
and convolutions of city skies. You were
for those few moments in bright light
adjusting orange bathing suit straps
to match white ribbons on your skin.
You pushed the pineapple section away,
then dozed in your dinner dress and shoes
on the rough grain of the hotel coversheet,
and later, scratched the resort's stray fleas.
There was a little bare space of you
between plastic straps of folding chair,
bottom globe, top of your thigh.
You were staring up at the umbrella ribs
when dusk was deciding to rain.
Later on, you wanted to see your dentist
in your delirium. You knew it was poison.
You thought it was some black spider,
then fevered through in-flight movies,
pillow wound dented by sharp button.
Actually it was viper. Actually it was lizard.
Actually it was him. Actually it was me.
I was glad I wasn't a shoe
on Washington Street,
and then white shawls and habits
at the cashiers inspected
my mirrors and tags,
brisk, exotic nun hands darting,
and Russian ladies tried me on
all Saturday afternoon in the basement.
Then traveled back from bedroom carpets,
the lady's can at the Hyatt,
booze cruised, done almost in,
done almost in by null house music.
Shoes think, Boris doesn't love me anymore.
Shoes would go to Reno if they could.
Little shoe theater, tarted up pumps,
high heeled sandals, filigreed,
filamentous boots, so many shoes
like cake, so many inedible,
perversely angled and matted
as our malicious makers who draft
us one by one at sloped tables
behind gold leaf lettered windows
across the alley from the sweatshop.