The man who sucked in his stomach
Breathed in too much air
Soon there was no one left
But a butcher with a cauliflower ear
and a woman whose paper bags spilled green globules
Across the agonized playground.
Stop, whispered the atomized trees
But the time of day crouched in the corner
The plantation pheasants whirled from cornrows
The fearful rain studded the silver-belled leaves.
Looks quiet around here.
Nothing but a cracked sidewalk
And a pair of old sneakers--
The old elephant sucked up his wrinkles.
The puddles left by the lucid rain
Stained the crowded asphalt.
The clock ran backward,
Children caught snowballs
Cars sucked in their exhaust
And you fluttered back into the incubation chamber
The sun put his hands on his face
And grief shook the blue curtains
And the sky tumbled over the coffee table
And you held the cigar, and the smoke
Was twisting, drifting upward,
The green shutters whirred and flashed,
The smoke imitation of a horse rider
Leaped and bucked in the rain
And folded its hands
And walked backwards, silently pointing.
Yaacov David Shulman