CAPRICCIO
By Maureen Eppstein  Capriccio

for no reason
Il capro, the goat on the hillsudden, unpredictable change, as of one’s mind
hip-hobble, hip-hobble
somersaults
cartwheelssunlight on white daisies
on the verge of a city street, a dusty sunflower
a garden planted with whirligigs
amethyst glass doorknob on a chalky white walla light and fanciful work of art
inch-worms dangling on invisible threads from all the oaksprank, capricious action, harebrained escapade
the fountain that children run throughthe cobbled paving on Ramona Street
Mexican tiles on the risers of the stairs
piled peppers at the Farmers’ Market
folk tune playersthe valley oak next door
the alley behind the house
the cops on bicycles
the owl and the pussycatthe smile of the old man I pass on the wooden bench
every morning on my way to work
and every evening when I come home
    The Keeper of FingernailsI am a stick falling from the moon. 
Over the purple forest the gargoyle snatches me in his teeth
and I shatter into twenty pieces.
Each piece glitters with shards of mirror
from the bathrooms in all the row houses of London
where the grimy bricks hide the hippopotamuses
of anger and slime that grovel under the back steps
and growl when the feather duster flicks her skirts
and flaunts the scarlet of her plumes that fly up
and wallop the ponderous bank building on the corner
of the hypotenuse which is not square
but a shape dimly perceived, like the shape-shifters of ancient tales,
who come now as crabs marching in columns
to the beat of a tom-tom that plays itself
with its claw sculpted out of dung
tapping nails into potato heads who smile
with the knowledge that no nourishment worth having derives
from the mountaintop where the rock sends smoke signals
to the keeper of fingernails saying now is the time to act,
before the splinters of the smashed self have time to regroup
and grow larger and more yellow
and bury the soul in a cairn of polite conversation,
while dogs of forgetting sniff out the putrid intestines
of the correct police and scatter them
across the polished floor of the bank building
where a man with tight mouth and trim suit stands
fingering his mustache, not seeing
his garments melting into chocolate
which the hippopotamuses lick and slurp
until the little man is naked and behind him
I can see the plywood and wires that prop him up.
    Gray StonesGray stones roll in slow procession
down a gray street, empty
except for a gray cat
that rubs its back against a post.
Tethered to the stones and shading them
are rigid canopies in soft-bright colors.Cat sits, head to one side, watching.
A steady rumble the only sound untilcat bats at a stone
which clonks against the stone in front
a ricochet
a piling up
a grinding to a halt.Released, the pastel banners twirl
about each other, blue with butter yellow,
lavender around mint green,
a silky pattern dancing in the sky.Beside the silent stones
cat bends to lick a paw.
    The Message ComesA thread
the color of violets
almost forgotten
in my handyesterday
footprints
along the beach
falling tidewater
purple surfacea few more days
rain
winter darkmy hands empty
my silence
a language without words   About the Author:

Maureen Eppstein has three poetry collections: Earthward (Finishing Line Press), Rogue Wave at Glass Beach (March Street Press) and Quickening (March Street Press). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Aesthetica, Basalt, Calyx, Ginosko, Poecology, Sand Hill Review, and Written River, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Originally from Aotearoa/New Zealand,  she now lives on the Mendocino Coast of California. Her website is http://www.maureen-eppstein.com
 


 

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