the glass sellers

Venetian glass-sellers:
the blond boy, crewcut and Germanically
ruddy, bulbous-eyed,
leaning back in his chair,
tilting his head at you,
the glass girl, fifteen or less,
long brown limbs
loosely arranged like straight-
blown rods in a vase,
your almost stylish red-brown hair
swinging downward as you look into
your red-and-blue lap,
though his washed bottle
ones are fixed on you
unremittingly, as if bending
the force of a will upon you,
and I sense some strange coercion there,
some resignation on your part,
unwilling forgiveness –
though what this sixteen-year-old
cocky one could have done is beyond me,
unless it’s having been blown wrong –
and as you stand up
he takes hold of your brown
grasshopper arm, pulling,
and you just stand there
for the minute it takes me
to walk around the side of the building
to where I can look back
through the arch and continue spying,
your sad and disbelieving
dark-amber head
tilted as if to say don’t look at me that way,
and then I witness
the slow dissolution of your resistance,
(that weakened ache in the bone
that I know so intimately)
sinking forward and down to
an elbowy, reserved embrace
that nevertheless goes on for
quite a while – I look
back fully five minutes later
and you are still frozen
in that cold position
you are fused, the dark glass of your hair
flowing into the glazed
white of his shirt.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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