Summer spat and rubbed its hands
into your red, circus hair. Meadows fumed
in the shadow-factories of your coat.
You were the eye in a hurricane
of words: flute, flask, fish, flash—sounds,
slippery as incandescent fish, cascading
off of you. Angel with raincoat wings, one-man show
whose show was a ballet of banisters,
rumpled headstands and rubber-snapping,
unattached suspenders, you ruptured
the screen’s precise edges. Who could stop you?
Not Punch and Judy, not all those policemen
sent stumbling over deck chairs and stoops.
Behind you, a wake of broken furniture and resilient
mistakes. In front of you, another maid
escaping with tight white apron
and swirling skirts—her smile a slender baton
tossed up into the air. An antidote to despair:
you gurgled inwardly, dream-bottle, jack-in-the box
with eyes popping wide, gun-toting acrobat
with no one target in mind. Always equipped:
blackjack, gramophone, a stowaway’s horn.
In your harp the wide, upward glide of Sacré Coeur’s
sun-splashed stairs, in your mouth, some scrap
of forgotten tie. Opera houses, cruise liners,
a millionaire’s drawing room were for smashing
in two, words were for the overly-confused.
Your bottomless pockets a cure-all, a stage darkened
before the lights turned on. Your knees a pet always stranded
in someone else’s hands. Who could stop you?
Mad-hatter without a tea tray, constant campaigner
for constant change, with a lollipop always ready
for the suffering heroine—her pain brimming
like a silvery champagne across her face.