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YERMIYAHU THE BOOK PEDDLER

YERMIYAHU THE BOOK PEDDLER
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

It could be a day cloudless, geometric to the touch.
It could be a day metallic, heavens dully closing in.
It does not matter.
The question of portent is of no relevance here.
You will see a figure pulling a wagon
stooped over the horizon.
First a dot and then coming into focus.
And the calls that grow louder:
“Poetry!  Poetry for sale!  Poetry!  Poetry for sale!”

The housewives swing open their windows;
their bosoms dangle listlessly.
The children gather around the figure, his hat askew,
poking under the volumes,
rifling through his pockets for coins or lollipops.
When none materialize, a few tug at his pants.
One even kicks his shins,
if with little enthusiasm.
No rocks are thrown.  At least that.

A dandy scans the jumble.
Something for my sweetie, he says,
dark locks veiling the skepticism beginning to coalesce.
Away he saunters, off to the flower vendor, no doubt.
(Or perhaps to the confectionary, where he will send the girls in pink
into peals of giggles with his impersonation of the book peddler.)
Mina, the mayor’s maiden aunt,
fingers the amulet tucked beneath her collar,
leafs to locate the lines that can encapsulate
the enormity of her inchoate desire.

It could be a night starless.
It could be a night ravaged by lightning.
It does not matter.
The question of tangibility is of no relevance here.
You will see a figure just below the horizon,
static in size and proportion,
skirts billowing about, crumpled on a silk blanket,
and a kerosene lamp swaying above the wagon.
You will hear the calls now murmured,
careening through the concerto of night birds:
“Poetry!  Poetry for sale!  Poetry!  Poetry for sale!”

 

©2012 This work is the property of the author.

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