by steve de france
I bump into a man who has
only a mouth in the middle of his face.
This mouth—grins—and asks for a light.
Is this some kind of a joke?  I ask.
He twists & opens his ancient mouth
into the shape of a waiting grave.
I stand looking into nothing.
I don’t know why, or for what reason
But I suddenly recalled a childhood
memory—a dream, or perhaps both.
I can’t be sure—maybe it is now I dream.
A dream of such pure white snow
it clings like a frozen shroud
to the windward side
of a young girl’s face.
Passing me on the street
she had smiled
so sweet a smile—its memory & sweetness
lasted all of my days.
“I asked for light,” said the mouth.
My hand, under a cracked street lamp,
trembles & the flame—ethereal—surges.
Before everything went dark
something funny happened to the moon.
I was watching it—as I said—and right then
it seemed to stop as if it were broken in the sky
and it just hung there.

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