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Roger Bonner
Roger Bonner

Lady on a Stone Bench

Lady on a stone bench,
In your satin dress,
In your ermine cape,
Late, late after a ball,
Lost in waltzes,
A teetering world.
The chauffeur's waiting…

Think, think.
The years like gravel
Crunch underfoot
And your bench is a pedestal,
And your children were never born.

Stay with your perfect poise,
The chiselled nose,
The head already a bust,
The legs crossed,
Disclosing ever so slender
turn of marble.
Stay, stay.
Do not let those ivy hands
reach for your rose.

Portrait in Gray

A jumble of soldiers
yellowing in the 30's air
on some alpine farmstead -
a clattering stop to pose
before trees that look
like worn toilet brushes.

Canonry rusting,
carbines hitched on shoulders
in uniforms not yet starched
with blood.

You, papa, in the center,
always in the center,
a cork in a vortex
refusing to disappear,
cap set at a jaunty angle
slipping to eyes
that never listened,
that only rose above rim
of newspaper
at the supper table
like two mocking moons.

December Day

Cut off from work on a winter day,
I walk into reality -
A path, a field, a hill,
The trees like plucked umbrellas -
Through crustaceous snow,
Through mulch and mud,
Letting the city shrink slug size.

Here nobody counts the countless;
The bookkeeper is dead.
Only a fence, where rooks rasp the air,
Demarks space as I lose my way
In the forest drip.

Then a clearing with hoar of moss
Where the sun squats on a trunk.
Last midges dance about its head
As it rises to plod down the slope
Through sodden corn
To the horizon,
Leaving the evening sky ajar,
Flashing a final blade
Of light in my face.