I Was Loth to Lead Her

by Neeli Cherkovski

I was loth to lead her
this way and too let her go
she claimed to be
my grandmother as she sold
cheap trinkets on the steps

of a temple in hell
surrounded by earthmoving machines
and bigjawed cops
in flimsy uniforms
who have no delicacy

we drove on wide and
filthy streets cutting through
the clutter bits of glitter
overhanging trellises
hiding madmen who listen

to late jazz
of an empire troubled
by populous states
am I falling over
my words tonight?

I felt like holding out
my thumb for a ride
and soon sat next
to a family man
who offered one hundred dollars

in his dancing hands
foot to the pedal I believe
he heard soft words
“Please listen to the muse
who lives on a supernova”

the red snow sneaks up
you must stop
and let me shout
for supper who never are
afraid of solitude

so we drove into the night
I invested perpetual loss
on a 747 found my way
to silence midplane
nook saw below

carpet of clouds
mother lived there
until she drowned in
the Pottery Barn adjacent to
a Vietnamese memorial wall

skies keeps on
going pillowlike clouds spin
I turn down the poison
older men offer on sidewalks
made of celluloid

             Selah