Today's poem is by Jeannine Savard

Huck Finn in the Sands Around Basra

It's a dream with a lost youth
in its mouth again, midnight wine
and chain of saliva. The jaw opens
and he walks off the tongue
like a tattooist's needle leaning East

into a neon moon: I laugh at his blue suit,
gold braid and trombone tie which is really
two snake balloons unknotted
and expiring rogue notes on a river-
boat. He laughs and strips down

to a starboard scene, a nude reflecting
waterlight. I say, "Are you kidding, Kid?"
He knows it's not sexual
but funny, he being dead
and by all rights

beyond fear of women or the law.
But now, not seeing me at all,
a levee voice calls. The Memorial Day float
on Main Street passes: girls packed-into
white dresses never stop waving.
The new leaf between the boy's legs

has grown wide
as a lion's head, a roar out of paradise
shaking me, making me cry,
waking me for once having told
the dead a lie they could think
worth living.

Copyright © 2005 Jeannine Savard All rights reserved
from My Hand Upon Your Name
Red Hen Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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