RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Sept. 16, 2015

Janet Kolstein

Gleaning Time

The audience is everywhere.
A city’s breath breathing on your neck
and mumbling strange allegations
in your ear,

still searching for that jeweled crown,
or laurel wreath.
Ornamental sword,
chest of metals,
scarlet sash.

I envision the film opening with his last lover
prone on the floor of the church’s aged stones,
her crinolined dress billowing out,
his encrypted corpse moldering deep below.

Are you comfortable in your clothes yet?
In your skin?

The elevator takes me and shakes me,
wipes the forest from my face.

She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek.
If that’s not a sign,
I don’t know what is.

There was a time
when someone cared
if my feet got cold,
or wet.

The clock on the old bank building
was frozen at six o’clock,
but we shop for vases
under a celedon dome.

Each century conveys a shambles:
dried mums,
half-eaten bones,
a concubines’s broken nails.

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