Note: I am a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. My poems, allegiances, and habits often reflect my affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, my translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird, is out from Hoot ‘n Waddle, based in Phoenix.
A Cavalier's Wife
An ice edged cloud the shape of a horse and rider
breaks open the sky above a courtyard
where a woman has been knitting for three centuries,
pausing from her work once every ten years
to look through the gate between its grey towers
and down the cobbled road from which
her husband waved his hat with the yellow plume.
When diplomats step out of their polished limousines
she does not greet them, neither will she smile
for the tourists who focus their cameras and comment
on the immaculate lace at her wrists and her collar.
Only when the rain sweeps against her face
does she lean back in her chair as if for a kiss.
The Devil’s Wife
Her hair smokes whenever she uses curlers
waiting for her husband to come home.
Her days pass through a cloud
of cigarette smoke
while she irons creases into his trousers
sharp enough to cut. She cooks
with peppers that singe any tongue but his,
mixes inflammable drinks
to welcome him, and never asks
about his work. He takes his horns off
at the door, sits down
in the easy chair, and turns the television on.
As soon as the news begins
they change the channel
to her favorite game show
and cry together when the most
unlikely contestant wins
© 2018 David Chorlton
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