Little Burnt Holes

Stiff legged, my head and throat so cold, I quit the jury selection room.

I dreamt of a shop with red velvet curtains where hats, the color of bark lie on the counter,

The hat I wanted is cut of mink, fit for a brutal season. It has prickles of fur, dirt colored like the faces of prisoners afloat in the courtroom,

Like the wool Basho wrapped around his throat when he called on The Lady of Trees.

All night she sits under a wild flowering tree, ready to judge both the quick and the dead.

She has a son who breathes fire. Basho whispers to me: In your country they fill the prisons with dark folk, that’s all they care about.

Outside the courtroom, on Center Street, a cold wind rips the scarf off my head, blinds me.

At night I see the Lady of Trees. She pulls out a handkerchief, makes her fire- breathing son stop and blow his nose.

Sparks waltz. Her muslin is spotted with little burnt holes.



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