by Alicia Cole
his beard unfurling. The women, their long
hair tied, the napes of their necks gleaming,
whisper he tastes of incense.
None touch him.
Each morning, his body clasps the earth
in an earnest wail. At night, his frame like
a question born of God waits on the cooling
stones, his body weeping with song.
One watches him.
Stained with wine and trembling, she,
the drunken traveler’s daughter. Her hands
make small gestures like the falling of birds;
her mouth a tender onion, peels open,
Holy men make love with their eyes, never
touching; just so, he watches her, skirts scarlet,
his eyes half-lidded on the curved peach
of her cheek. Her hand offers itself,
her hollow palm.
When the wind sweeps the market, it carries their
mouths' hunger. His prayers, eager in the perfumed
air, tremble; the curve of her neck arching like God's
first sunrise. Her breath, sucking in,
a honeyed wail.
* * *
Where do you get the ideas for your poems?
My poems are birthed from my life and relationships, with a sprinkling of nature-based and spiritual images. Sometimes this sprinkle is more of a pervasive element. In "Market Song", it's more the former case: the setting, man-made, not natural, adds flavor while spirituality breathes life into the work.