Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge!

The Aureole

    (for E)

              I stop my hand midair.

              If I touch her there everything about me will be true.
              The New World discovered without pick or ax.

              I will be what Brenda Jones was stoned for in 1969.
              I saw it as a girl but didn't know I was taking in myself.

              My hand remembers, treading the watery room,
              just behind the rose-veiled eyes of memory.

Alone in the yard tucked beneath the hood of her car,
lucky clover all about her feet, green tea-sweet necklace
for her mud-pie crusty work boots.

She fends off their spit & words with silent two-handed
twists & turns of her socket wrench. A hurl of sticks &
stones and only me to whisper for her, from sidewalk far,

break my bones. A grown woman in grease-pocket overalls
inside her own sexy transmission despite the crowding of
hurled red hots. Beneath the hood of her candy-apple Camaro:

souped, shiny, low to the ground.

              The stars over the Atlantic are dangling
              salt crystals. The room at the Seashell Inn is
              $20 a night; special winter off-season rate.
              No one else here but us and the night clerk,
              five floors below, alone with his cherished
              stack of Spiderman. My lips are red snails
              in a primal search for every constellation
              hiding in the sky of your body. My hand
              waits for permission, for my life to agree
              to be changed, forever. Can Captain Night
              Clerk hear my fingers tambourining you
              there on the moon? Won't he soon climb
              the stairs and bam! on the hood of this car?
              You are a woman with film reels for eyes.
              Years of long talking have brought us to the
              land of the body. Our skin is one endless
              prayer bead of brown. If my hand ever lands,
              I will fly past dreaming Australian Aborigines.
              The old claw hammer and monkey wrench
              that flew at Brenda Jones will fly across the
              yard of ocean at me. A grease rag will be
              thrust into my painter's pants against my
              will. I will never be able to wash or peel
              any of this away. Before the night is over
              someone I do not know will want the keys
              to my '55 silver Thunderbird. He will chase
              me down the street. A gaggle of spooked
              hens will fly up in my grandmother's yard,
              never to lay another egg, just as I am jump-
              ed, kneed, pulled finally to the high ground
              of sweet clover.

Written by Nikky Finney


Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge