Eileen Tabios

Write A Poem, Neruda Told The Postman

for Massimo Troisi

As grey-haired birds
flirt over the lace-
edged slide of waves

he floats his gaze past
the horizon of his cracked windowsill,
rears at a monochrome wave
rushing to tackle him,
trap his widened eyes,
tilt his head towards the sky
until he snags on the amused glances
of Venus and her two Dippers.

With a turn of his back
he drops to a blowfish playing hide-and-seek
behind an anemone clad in a thin t-shirt
draped over a pastel coral on the sea floor

At 5 o'clock, he catches a furtive grin
and waggling fin of a creature
paddling as smoothly as Harry
Connick singing under a full, frozen moon
-- also, its teeth are yellow, ragged,
draped with striated meat and huge.

At 10 o'clock, Harry's boredom
beyond the cave where he huddles,
a mouth too small for the wide-bellied creature,
releases a grin to wet his gums;
on his way home, he leans
his angular nose with a broken
past into a school of jade minnows:
their silver-flecked, ebony-tipped bodies
like a spray of water on his face
before his mischievous son runs away.

Consequently, and with his wife's breath
a scent of pineapples
as her bee-stung lips
carve the curvature of her smile
on the hidden hollow of his neck,
he draws the moon

in as perfect a circle as he can muster.

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996