Drinkers and Lotus Eaters
I speak as though hanging
tree lights, rearranging groceries,
honing too much for small shelves.
I could be looking for the snakebite
kit, a tourniquet, the marriage license,
or birth certificate. Its remarkable
I can say so much, so quickly;
that I can say anything at all.
In a railway station, under a scaffold
I can pass where thoughts
are overshadowed by big sounds.
There are no scars, no disfiguring
embarrassments. I could appear in films.
There might be subtitles, or more lines
for the actors. They would enunciate
my gestures, how I seem
to be sorting something, figures
on an imaginary abacus,
or arguing with the air.
Can you tell that I expected
to be beautiful, to wear castanets
and cymbals, manicure myself
in golds and reds? From my mouth
I anticipated mists and perfumes,
and my eyes the ether that supported
the matchthe torchthe wand Picasso
held as the time-elapsed photography began.
Ive been told to think in pictures
but the emulsion has been stripped
from my throat, and lungs.
Watch me: I refuse directions.
If lost, I am a foreigner
If I ask, I am a stranger feted
with a crying child.
I pluck as though harvesting fruit,
doing piecework, paid by the pound.
The foreman is looking.
If I lose this job, Ill starve.
Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in midtown Manhattan
with her husband and daughter. She teaches English at a local university
of some note. This is her first publication in quite awhile.