Stephen Kopel


steps out of a suitcase
bigger than her britches,
no sturdy yardarm to steady
the pitched battle of her nerves

tosses anger overboard –
svelte anchor of petty hurts –
in the venison canal
where meter eaters
lunch with E. coli
and deserters point to carts,
feud, defending napoleons or tarts

and, she,
astride a mute buoy bobbing,
recalls that loquacious bully
in her mom’s glove compartment
teaching her a belch in C#
now buried in Venetian glass

suitcase tents,
in case of breakage

Ruiz, darling

over a Picasso shoulder
she flings another
distillated sigh

does she just imagine
the Catalonian kissing
a fractured face which
she hopes is hers alone

a tongue tattoo licks
her single mammary

all nine toes
soak in Madeira

she’s long past
celebrating a romance
short on Cuban cigars,
rolls in the hay, flan

in his vest pocket,
a stain of chartreuse,
the color she resents
most snitched from Miro
when last they visited
the Musee D’Orsay

her left elbow,
outside the canvas,
awaits the painter’s kiss
or brushoff as he
steals a Barcelona nap

© Stephen Kopel

Stephen Kopel is a San Francisco teacher, cyclist, art collector, civic benefactor, and a working wordsmith. Author of chapbooks crux and crax, as well as novel Spritz, his work resides in Margie, The Evansville Review, Aethlon, Main Street Rag, Harpur Palate, Loch Raven Review, and Antigonish Review. The poet invests in the “take stock market” with assets allocated in straight talk, caring, and courage. Contact:

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