Fred Johnston

( Galway, Ireland )

from BFR, Winter 2003


Rue Lacépede

I am the fat, slow old woman
Whose dress drops from her waist, 
Whose white belly hangs,
Whose head hangs, 
Who has nothing to say.
They are laughing out of youth,
As if youth were a gaping mouth,
As if the world was not a mouth
That swallowed, 
Sucked, spat out the heart's bones. 
Tonight it's hot, no breath,
The big tree does not move a leaf, 
Not a leaf. A mouse
Runs in terror under the parked
Motorbikes. Girls show their thighs.
Like the planets, I have my orbit:
Round and round, over
The cobble-stones where Mérimée spoke
To me when I was beautiful.
I go round and round, looking for him.
The mad red sapeurs pompiers
Flick their blue, blue lights - 
The wicker chairs tip back on two legs,
There is so much noise, drinking, eating:
I am across the Square, a ghost to it all. 

Next - Lisa Katz

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