by Joel Brouwer
paper, 88 pages, $15.95
At left a yellow flat of sunlight leans
against a raw brick wall. Two cats—one white,
one black—slump along the vast windowsill
as if drugged. Their little fangs glisten.
A suggestion of steeple beyond the window,
coupled with a recording of children
shouting in the imaginary square below,
conjures an older quarter. Red sofa stage right.
Coffee table strewn with breakfast’s remnants.
Dish of bloody ber r ies, greasy pages torn
from a pastry, a coffee cup set down
absently, tilted on its saucer. And
on the sofa she’s reading newspapers.
The world is dramatic but not tragic.
A stagehand lifts the hem of her dress,
shakes it softly, lets it fall, and exits.
Music squeaks weakly from an old radio.
A vase of tulips sighs on a shelf .
All is in its best place under its best dust,
and in the wings his line stalls in his throat.