Vapors Shaped like People
Vapors shaped like people smoke
from the earth after heavy rain.
They curlicue into the sunlight
and pose as if for photos.
Something musical in their stance,
something painterly in the slick
transparency they overlay
on trembling suburban gardens.
Nothing sculptural, nothing
solid enough to touch or embrace,
but a faint yellow keening
accompanies a violin
scratching in a neighbor’s house
where I swear I once saw ghosts
cruising in the shrubs at dusk.
The vapors aren’t ghosts, though,
only daydreams hatching
in the prepubescent residue
of the average working life.
Anyone could name those shapes
after the unrequited lust
that fringes one’s daily errands.
After work, a drink at the pub,
a tour of the supermarket,
a chat with a smiling pharmacist.
The vapors recall the moments
in school, church, playground, camp,
when flesh conspires with flesh
to arouse the sleeping gene pool
to what we hope is destiny.
I know better. The vapors curdle
like the last autumn bonfire
when the promise of snow
suggests I retreat to Mexico
and open my pores to a language
made of flowers that never fade.