You were the Wife of Bath
and I was Claudius Ptolemy.
I was your sixth or seventh husband
and you were my invisible lover, Mrs. Succubus.
We played games in the sack by candlelight.
We crossed deserts.
Some days we didn’t even know each other.
Little wonder I was so confused.
How does one label their experiences
when rampaging Visigoth’s are at the gate?
With biblical floodwaters rising?
In these damnable firestorms?
One minute we’re Bedouins in a Saharan caravan
and the next we’re planting tomatoes back in Omaha.
“Now you see me, now you don’t,”
you cried out from behind a burning mulberry bush.
And I couldn’t have said it any better.
There aren’t enough words to finish a poem.
Words are rare in this tight-lipped land.
Even our philosophers use them sparingly,
each syllable a waterdrop in the desert of mind,
each letter a stupendous gem to the mute pauper
unwrapping his filthy handkerchief, to show his wife
the thing that he’s caught, as if a wounded bird
blown off course on winds scented of cinnamon.
A word so plump and fine they’ll dine a week on it,
and poetry be damned.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with poems published in hundreds of magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books include The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press); Like As If (Pski’s Porch); and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).
Kerry Lush is a photographer, designer, and stylist living in Queensland, Australia. Her work can be viewed on Facebook at Lush Creations https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100066787272286, and on Instagram at hybrid_queen_photography.