For Jenny Joseph and Anne Davis, or purple is a great friggin color

by Pete Davis

~~~

Catch it on your tongue: the truth,
like a wind-blown flake of snow,
moon-splinter, sun-needle,
division of multiplying germs,
plus or minus a platoon or two
--heartbeat in a sliver of darkness.

An old woman in a beauty parlor,
stands on her head, up to her ears
in shampoo, singing Joy To The World
and all I have left to do is curl my
hair with a wire brush and a song
about a hen I share a chicken dinner with,
then help Frank Perdue improve efficiency
by teaching this hen to commit suicide
and dismember and package itself.
Why canít I stop thinking about an egg?
or this housefly on the wall they are
shaving with an ax before sailing it
(the ax, that is) around Cape Horn in June?

On the rainy street, smeared with lights,
the old woman in the purple hat finds
things which she puts in her basket:
moonwater, deep space, and a memory
of a memory remembered and then forgotten.

Between the pond and the railroad tracks,
She dines on seaweed, spindrift, a northeast
wind, and a filigreed plate of cumulostratus.
She inhales fog from the granite shore,
exhales darkness of a moonless night.

She reflects on the wildness of a thought:
that most screwdrivers become hammers,
while the remainder become saws or see-saws.
She smiles as she makes a check next to an
item on a list: "Learn to spit."

~~~

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