Salesmanship, With Half A Dram Of Tears
- by Brooks Haxton 15Gripping the lectern, rocking it, searching
the faces for the souls, for signs of heartfelt
mindfulness at work, I thought, as I recited
words I wrote in tears: instead of tears,
if I had understood my father's business,
I could be selling men's clothes. I could be
kneeling, complimenting someone at the bay
of mirrors, mumblingly, with pinpoints pressed
between my lips. That was the life I held
in scorn while young, because I thought to live
without distraction, using words. Yet, looking
now into the room of strangers' eyes, I wanted
them to feel what I said touch, as palpably
as when a men in double worsted felt
the cuff drop to his wrist. There was a rush
in the applause of gratitude and mercy:
they could go. A teenager, embarrassed
for himself and me, lefthandedly
squeezed my fingers, and said thanks.
- by Brooks Haxton 3Cattle egrets in the dry grass waded
like white clerics at the hooves
of brood cows, heifers, and new calves.
Forked lightning. Calm.
The darkness in the cattle tank welled up
and flooded the reflection of the trees.
Turkey vultures wheeled, and wheeled away.
No swifts, no swallows, children gone indoors.
Rain seethed into the willowtops,
sky flashing, while the black bull
under the water locust glowed
with an inward surge of darkness
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