Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Poems For Jamie Wyeth, Part Three


Mushroom Picker

i don’t care for mushrooms myself
they smell like cellars
but i was talkin’ to Calvin
at the feed store
and he told me his brother quit
workin’ in the mines
and started growing mushrooms
in their old sheep shed
all kinds too
the kinds that people,
mushroom aficionados, so to speak,
pay a lot for
so i got to thinkin’
about Calvin’s brother
breathin’ the soft damp
air of mushrooms
instead of coal dust
and how accustomed
he is to gettin’ around in the dark
with nothin’ but a lamp on his head
must be a relief for him
knowin’ the roof ain’t gonna cave in
and he probably has lunch up at the house
with his wife now
where they can look out the window
at that old pony with the one blue eye


 Island Library

the librarian’s afternoon began with a quandary
and ended with an embarrassment
only four attended the carefully publicized
Travel Writer’s reading
and one of the four
an impressionable nine year old
who refused to sit in a chair
and instead lay in the grass
in an ill fitting gingham dress
with one sock up and one sock down
blowing enormous bubbles
of her gum
as the Travel Writer read stories
of his summer in Sicily
in 1972 or was it 1962?
the librarian was in such a state
the year of his jaunt hardly mattered
it was difficult enough when he spoke
of the blustery red-faced Englishman who came to his villa
asking for matches when
a light for his Cuban cigar
wasn’t really what he wanted at all
sordid enough was that tale
but then to speak of the fantasies brought on
as he ate pastries;
minne di Sant’Agata,
she hoped while he paused
that a translation would not follow
but it did
the breasts of Saint Agatha,
he held the candied cherry nipples
on his tongue . . .
and well,
the nine year old
let the pink bubble deflate
and the gum descended over her lips and chin
and her mother looked far out to the sea
where a sailboat appeared and disappeared
in the waves of a distant storm