The Appointment

A quiet little man sits in a lobby waiting
for a door to open, for someone

to come out, to offer him something--
what, doesnít matter--

and because it is a nice day,
the door that heíd already opened,

heíd left ajar. But now

he sees in fragments, frame
upon frame--a red shoe

lifting, gone--a birdís hard eye
piercing, past--within a basket

the head of a child--
And all the time

light insisting
on a shadow,

a still-life of traffic runs over
again and again,

and there is no witness--
no not a hint of

where the body is--skin
after skin, after skin.

St. Ives Elegy

Itís a gray day and, outside
the galleries and shoppes,

people rub against the air,
erasing themselves away

in this town of angles where
every direction is up unless

you are walking down to
the sea quietly waiting.


Two pints down,
and Iím undressing

people passing by
the pub window

and, though I donít see
monkeys, I do see

aborigines just like me,
not to mention odd

shapes that turn
back the clock--

angel on a hook,
knees spread slightly,

within fireís ash,
the skullís lantern.


The music turns from 60ís retro
--Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Elvis--

to disco for the women out,
mothers and daughters.

Offered on a table,
in a plastic bassinet, lies

a newborn; the air throbs.
The infant gazes upward, open;

a grandmother smiles down,
looms over, her pale face,

her glittering eyes, her
stiff, black hair, spread wings.

Steve Longfellow's poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Los Angeles Review, Pif, and Summerset Review, among others. Poems will be out soon in Word Riot's10th anniversary anthology, Foundling Review, and RHINO. His poem, ďVaudeville,Ē which appeared in the In Posse Review, was nominated for Best of the Web.

© 2004-2012 Underground Voices