Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Twenty-Third Psalm

Twenty-Third Psalm
© Surazeus
2017 05 09

Alone in teeming crowd on Market Street,
after everyone leaves work for the day,
Barbie pushes shopping cart full of bags
where she stuffed all her fine dresses and shoes
when the police foreclosed on her large house,
and watches faces glowing in street lights
freeze into porcelain masks when they pass
though she smiles at them with generous love.

Parking shopping cart beside wooden bench,
between the coffee shop and the flower shop,
Barbie adjusts blue trench coat with slim hands,
then sits beside the couple eating ice dream,
and rests her hand on the edge of the cart
to watch people go in and out of shops,
while remembering how much each dress cost,
and if she needs to buy another dress,
though if she sells them at the vintage shop.

At the small round glass table three young men
laugh as they snap photographs with their phones,
just like Jean Paul Sartre, Verlaine, and Rimbaud
talking about surrealist poetry
at the Pegasus Cafe in Paris
because poets are wizards who conjure
apparitions of heroes and lost souls
from the dust of words that compose the world.

When those three boys in ski masks broke the door
and pointed guns in their faces, she cried
and begged they leave because professor friends
from the university will come soon
for an evening of roast beef steak and wine
they bought from France on their summer vacation,
but he pushed her against the wall which caused
the Ming Dynasty vase to fall and crash,
shattering her heart into a thousand shards.

The other one shot her husband three times,
the gentle professor who teaches history
of the Roman Empire to graduate students,
splattering his blood on her new white dress,
just like the one Jackie Kennedy wore,
and his eyes stared blank at the vast white wall
where all the memories of laughter flash
in sparkling waterfall on mountain trail
when they ventured to Yosemite Park
for their honeymoon to make love at night
when stars glitter like diamonds in her heart.

Smiling as she smoothes her long tangled hair,
Barbie wonders if she told the young girl,
sitting beside her, story of her life,
how after her husband was shot and killed
she lost everything, bankrupted by fear,
but she still has all her dresses and shoes,
safe in thirteen trashbags for thirty years,
still looking for her home on Alder Street,
so she smiles at the girl who looks away.

Reciting the address numbers on door
of every house on every street of town,
Barbie walks up and down the neighborhoods
to traverse the entire city on foot,
pushing shopping cart with dresses and shoes,
and whispers words she invents from cold wind,
intending to write the new dictionary
that will explain why everyone should care.

The Lord was my shepherd, but now I want,
for I wander idyllic pastures of heaven
now paved with asphalt in network of roads
lined with houses, doors locked against the gloom,
that watch me with silent eyes of disgust,
and I have nowhere in all these green pastures
to lie down safe, for the clear quiet waters
are hidden in cement pipes under streets,
and I wander up and down rigid streets
reciting the weird name of my dead husband.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
late at night when everyone is asleep,
I fear nothing because nobody cares,
sitting together behind their locked doors
and watching television after supper,
for no one is with me in the cold night,
and the policeman with a gun who drives
slowly past where I walk, pushing my cart,
would arrest me and lock me in the jail,
so I keep walking to avoid his eyes.

Ten thousand houses line neighborhood streets,
and inside them all are ten thousand tables
covered with large plates of delicious food
beside pitchers of milk, juice, and sweet wine,
but I will never again be invited
to join their rich feasts, for I have no friends
and everyone is now my enemy,
since no one ever bothered to help me
after my husband was killed by the thieves,
but I sneak up to the sides of their homes
and fill plastic bottles with sparkling water
that overflow and splash on my torn shoes.

Sorrow and despair follow after me
all the days of my life since criminals
invaded my home, raped me on my bed,
and shot my husband to steal our jewelry,
and I will dwell on the streets of the world
outside the walls and the doors of the house
forever, pushing my cart full of bags,
stuffed with dresses and shoes, in the hot sun
and the drenching rain, searching for my face.

Smiling at the little boy with balloon
who stops to stare at her with big blue eyes,
Barbie reaches out her thin wrinkled hand
and offers him the baseball that she found
in the alley behind the grocery store,
but he knocks it out of her hand and laughs,
then runs to his mother by the flower shop,
so she watches trees rustling in cool wind
and breathes in pungent scent of purple lilacs.

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