February 19, 2006

Echoing Spaces: Two Prose Poems

1. Library Bathroom
A blue crane on the porcelain bowl marks the maker’s name. The dented brown door is marked with wedge-shaped cuneiform scratches.

The traveling man sets his backpack on the ledge, and shunts from sink to sink looking for soap, each automatic faucet staying on for five seconds after he passes.

The next stall bangs open; big black shoes walk in. He growls to himself, hawks spit into the bowl before sitting.

Wads of white paper on the brown tile floor; the white roll lying sideways on the ground. I set my book down at my feet and sit staring at the cover: Kawabata, First Snow on Fuji.

2. Offices on the Weekend
The pretty downtown houses are all businesses now: “Attorneys at Law,” “Law Offices of,” “Certified In Criminal Defense,” “P.C.,” “L.L.C.” Freshly painted, housekept by weekly contract, flowers replaced every Friday, and the broad polished desks so clean, the latest brief stacked square on the left side of the desk, the wall art blemishless and presentable, the perfect butlering of the files. I stop and look: it must be good to have a place like this to go to, and always know where you’re going to be. The room comes to life before me: the client fidgeting, winding forth her grievances; the lawyer repeating reassurances, making a note, his eyes flicking at the photo of his kids. Palms to glass, I give a longing smile: “Ah, reality!”

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