sounds like organic lettuce
from southern California
the kind pretty people eat with a fork
and a knife
linen napkins and champagne flutes
an aura of laughter
a hint of condescension
so I looked it up
knowledge is a comfort food
unearthed unhelpful synonyms:
bombast, cockalorum,
fanfaronade, magniloquence,
but I know this intrinsically
for what I am not
it’s the guy in the bar
(there is always a guy in the bar)
with the beer and the swagger
one imported; the other innate
to call him cocky is a compliment
bluster an itch he doesn’t want to scratch
like the sage at the workshop
who doesn’t fill in calendar blocks
instead creates a circle –
time is fluid –
and I wonder if we are intended to swoon
in awe at this presence
wonder at the loathing that rises in me
whose only hot air is gastric
who crushes the seeds in the rodomontade
before they have a chance to grow
there is even my aunt with the hats –
panama, pillbox, panache –
people comment and I feel uneasy
for the attention she draws
I cannot understand this pull to centrestage
I prefer the wings
Where ambiguity sits in the comfort of shadows
Cast from the light
yet somewhere an image rises
refutes condemnation
crows loudly
remember Colleen
the colleague who strutted
shoulders back, chin up
eyes scorching
she paraded
even to the coffee machine
even when the mass in her face
when skin sagged
lips went limp
cheekbones labelled medical waste
her left arm still lifted as if anchored
beyond the fiancé who fled
defying anyone to say she wasn’t sexy
as hell

donalee Moulton

donalee Moulton's poetry has appeared in The Queen's Quarterly, Prairie Fire, The Dalhousie Review, The Antigonish Review, Carousel, Fireweed, and Whetstone, among others. She is a former publisher and editor of The Pottersfield Portfolio and editor of Atlantic Books Today. donalee lives in Halifax happily surrounded by family, friends, pets and poetry.