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Lois Read

Evening Dress in the Afternoon

I don't know your name
couldn't find you photo, even on Google
but I know that you must be
a high-society sophisticate
in the butterfly world
svelte body sheathed
in basic black
wings black too, at the start
then bands of palest blue
give way to transparent tips.

You wear this
enchanting evening dress
with the detached cool
that comes with class
even though the sun is shining
this hot August August afternoon
sit unmoving
on a lily stem
while tiny white ingenues

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Too Bad About The Butterfly-a ghazal

Martha Graham embroidered arabesques across the canyon.
Surrounding mountains nodded at the mastry of her dance.

Feel vanilla breezes in your heart
while palm fronds whisper an early morning dance.

Try our dresson inside-out. Put on a wig.
Turn cartwheels and invert the dance.

The mermaid on the Tarot card spilled rainbows
on the fish below her as she tried to dance.

Too bad about the butterfly, so intent on pollen
he lost the morning, and the chance to dance.

The poet says your soul will wither
unless you give it leave to dance.

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The Peacock's Tail

Shrill whistles pierce the country calm
as peacocks flounce florescent tails.

Imprisoned in their corsets, ladies
with wasp waists faint in parlors.

Gentlemen prance prettily in periwigs
on high-heeled shoes with big brass buckles.

Chinese women of quality hide crippled feet
in 'Lotus Shoes' of lace and satin.

Beauty weeps behind a barbed-wire fence
because the alley cat wears a golden crown.

Cinderella's sister cut off her toes:
blood seeps out of the glass slipper.

Brash goldenrod has gone sedate.
Goya's hag looks for youth in her hand mirror.

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Threading Through October (a pantoum)

New England autumn shouts out loud:
Arachne goes wild with natural dyed yarns.
Brash goldenrod has gone sedate.
What shall we do when winter comes?

Arachne goes wild with natural dyed yarns
her tapestry evolving daily.
What shall we do when winter comes
with silence out companion?

Her tapestry evolving daily
she weaves with leaves and branches.
With silence our companion
we watch and wait in wonder.

She weaves with leaves and branches
a symphony of autumn.
We watch and wait in wonder
what last great chord will strike.

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Blood Tears (a pantoum)

The bougainvillea weeps petals on the street,
cobblestones are red with tears.
Much care is needed treading cobblestones
more now that I may murder tears.

Cobblestones are red with tears:
I know not where to put my foot,
more now that I may murder tears.
Would the weeper feel pain?

I know not where to put my foot
for fear of stepping on the petals.
Would the weeper feel pain
were I to crush just one?

For fear of stepping on the petals
I walk home the long way round.
Were I to crush just one,
my heart would weep red too.

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