At a gift shop on the bay where Spanish galleons
once sailed past huge pods of majestic dolphins
women cashiers on break met by a small table.
One a victim of fibromyalgia slouched on a stool
thumbing People magazine. Another on a voyage
of steady weight gain munched a tuna sandwich
enhanced with tangy chipotle. The artist enthused
about her painting hung in the local library, all
with eyes peeled watching the clock to make sure
they’d get back on the job in the nick of time.
Meanwhile a development undisclosed to them,
fallout from the Fukushima reactor in Japan
was slowly making its way through ocean waters
and could reach the shoreline where they toiled
any instant. I knew of this and yet said nothing.
Sometimes it’s best to let ignorance have its say,
for what isn’t known unlikely to cause distress
according to the haughty logician aboard the bus
that left Istanbul at exactly the calculated minute
to nail its arrival at the depot of constitutionality.
With such an abundance of possible strategies
to choose from when one is painted into a corner
the best way out isn’t always the most obvious
since we can’t know what’s behind the mountain.
Though the women may think a single glass slipper
can fit all, and that a phenomenal glowing coach
drawn by amethyst-horned mustangs will come,
mascara won’t be able to hide eventual wrinkles.
Yet despite this each of them dons a glistening
tiara that beams in some special man’s mind.
This is the way the wind glistens, the way breakers
smack instant knowledge upon granite headlands
when a storm from Hawaii pounds the Pacific coast:
astonishing tiaras flow from the immeasurable sky,
wisdom unleashed, smashed, tossed and scattered,
coating the long wide beaches with busted shells
within which whole universes of sight and sound
can be discovered. Still human pain never goes away,
can’t diminish come high or low tide, this because
the controlling moon in its humility was born to die.
But that isn’t the end. Immortality incubates in the link
between thought and action. As a good example of this
I once attended a dream auction at which a lion tamer
with a fat bull whip sought bids for a little girl balled up
at the bottom of a filthy bird cage.The skinny auctioneer
became blue in the face in his attempts to draw a bid.
He kept lowering the price but nobody would bite, until
the crowd disassembled and her value sank to nothing,
at which point the little girl quickly ballooned, breached
the cage’s bars, ascended and then faded into the clouds.
About the author:
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared in Nimrod, Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Journal, Gertrude, The Bacon Review, and many others. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.