Today's poem is by John Hart

Ovid in Exile

The cat whines in the kitchen
at the daffodils dead since last week's rain.
Behind the bush out front, empty whiskey bottles lie about,
foreign and frail, mouths open to catch the last drops.
The drain gagged with a dish rag,
I sit in a bath and hear, through the apartment wall,
the faint spring of a mattress and the sound of moaning.
Yesterday was sunny, rich with a smell of hot dogs;
I sat in the courtyard and the anxious wind shushed me.
I was almost someone I knew.

Turn away from my poems, everyone,
because I'm about to mention my neighbor's potted plants
are dying. In the afternoon, on the porch,
I sit, tormented by the humidity, watching azaleas wither.
My cigar smoke lingers, lighter than air,
stroking the white petals
with the long fingers of sorrowful women.
I have to quit smoking. Again.
The flea-bitten cat who slept through the afternoon
on the stoop, forbidden the apartment, was I,
as was the man who fell apart in the parking lot.
Garbage blew from a dumpster; twilight glowed
as if rain didn't want to come.
They're not from here, the azaleas.

Copyright © 2009 John Hart All rights reserved
from Iron Horse Literary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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