V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




The man on my calendar
of vintage posters scares me,
holding a glass of drink in his hand.
But in a black cape hanging
purposefully from his shoulders,
his silhouette could be the devil.
He reminds me of Death,
with a Spanish hat
tilted rakishly to the left.

I saw a woman hit by a car today.
The street full of crowds
scurrying to the open market
where Azerbeijans sell bootleg vodka.
Vendors prop themselves
against card tables with boxed
cookware and chocolate
taped to the oil cloth surface.
So many layers bundle these women
it is impossible to discern the shape of their bodies.
Knocked over, surely they would bounce back
like punching bag clowns.
Or else would roll, snow sticking
to the layers of down and wool.

The woman was crossing the street towards us
as Lena and I were about to step off the curb.
There was a thud, not of metal to flesh,
but of wood hitting something flat and hard.
She had a confused expression,
as if she did not understand.
And then she was flying.
After the body hit the pavement,
Lena pulled me behind an archway,
as if I now needed to be hidden.
Then she began to cry.

On the way home the metro was crowded.
The doors snapped open and shut,
each time with that same thud.
I kept seeing the woman standing on the platform.
At home the man on my calendar
still raises his glass.
I don't understand whom he is toasting.


© by Carol V. Davis


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