In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Friday’s Ten

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You give me ten, I said to her, and I’ll show you blue corn stalks 

bent at the waist spying on wet larvae writhing in raw earth bleeding mud, 

conjure up emerald-studded Gucci sunglasses’ shattered templates along the highway. 

I’ll paint the vines growing over sacrificial ruins in Tenochtitlan 

where snakes gulp pigs in jaws detached at the hinges. 

Ever see the black ice that skids mango school buses with barely a wheel’s turn? 

It grows atop lanes frayed at the edges with stony tar, rusty nails, and powdered glass. 

Don’t fall in a ditch, or the black rats’ll strangle you purple 

I heard the old man tell the boy on his knee. 

Quick sand isn’t a movie myth carved of convenient climax. 

And cornflowers dot the meadow almost azure not the Iowan June-wheat sun’s tapestry. 

It’s only when she’s waved goodbye and disappears through the gates 

do I smell the clinging scent of honey oil dipped in sea float above 

the rippling hem of my cotton laced wrap. 

She taps my shoulders at an arm’s reach to say, “Hey.”

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