by Carol Alexander
Your voice in Saint-Germain-de-Prés is pastis
in a glass of fog, held by an invisible hand.
How phrase this in a nomenclature vivid
as a lipstick smeared at the bar?
In the hotel lobby, Arab girls and boys
praise a wine never to be served
and potted palms are sleeping, curled and dry.
That great beast, the wind, noses pavements
soaked in blood that dries before the world's eyes.
Raised on every bridge are unwavering lights
where once smoked oil lamps strung on narrow streets.
My camera pinches off lanterns and loaves,
a pink dress hung in the galleries
while your meeting, not to be postponed,
is soup and cigarettes under martial law.
Dogs off-leash bare teeth and wheel
at the unfamiliar smells of men.
Muted leaves that missed their moment
when September made an oven of the streets
mostly now have fallen into loam.
I've a little forgotten disaster in these months;
it could be the sound of wind through husks
or a tremulous breath breaking in mid-song.
Carol Alexander's poems have appeared in such journals as Bluestem, Caesura, Canary, The Common, Chiron Review, Illya's Honey, Mad Hatter's Review, Mobius, TheNewVerse.News, Poetry Quarterly, Poetrybay, Red River Review, The San Pedro River Review, Sugar Mule, THEMA and Zymbol, as well as in various anthologies including Through a Distant Lens (WriteWing Publishing) for which she received the award for best poem, and Proud to Be, for which she was a poetry finalist. Alexander's chapbook, Bridal Veil Falls, was published by Flutter Press (2013). Recent work appears in Split Rock Review and Clementine Poetry Journal.