local_library Paris, Kentucky

by S.D. Parsons

Published in Issue No. 4 ~ July, 1996

You grinned like Culligula
when an infant snow bound
the fevered breath of god
to the scalp of a clover field.

A lily pond shimmied
through its autumn hymnal
a percussive rain,
drowning out the last stanza
guttural voiced toads
had rehearsed all season.

Rome burned
a single swan of harsh white,
slashing my gray skin
on a staggering, hung-over night.

Where were my manners then?

When raging lust crashed
close to the delicate shores of your trust?

Urchin eyes,
you know the saccharine truth.

Strangers’ lips taste sugary
until novelty has been licked away.

Only guilt’s sour core remains.

Vows of abstinence
absolved few sins, then.
Mine remained well hidden,
prying beneath the covers
with nimble fingers
to trace across your naked skin.

I stole away
through darkness,
guiltless as a thief
mugging a beggar,
hungry as leopards,
spending a solitary night
in Paris, Kentucky.

Sleeping thick
a blanket of exhausted reasons,
clouds littered the southern sky,
obscuring stars
you had named like they were kittens.

I felt you on my skin, still;
your musty perfume
washed over the night,
lathered my face,
my lips.

In a fit, I jammed
dimes and nickels down
the split spine
of an inconvenient telephone,
shoved in a dark corner
behind a greasy rest-stop’s
dark, carbonated heart.

Three rings, machine answered,
saying you were gone.

Two days later, mother stuttered,
saying you were gone.

One dead month spread like oil to six.

Now only the wind recalls your song.

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S.D. Parsons spends the majority of his time traveling the world in search of the perfect cappuccino. A Zen Buddhist at heart, he feels the downfall of all Western Civilization can be traced directly to man's inability to accept his neighbor's God. He says: "We stand on the cusp of great understanding, but our ignorance blinds us, keeps us from seeing the miracles unfolding right before our eyes."