Author's Note: Once of my granddaughters turns nine on Halloween. I asked what she wanted for her birthday, and she told me she had a list: “The next two books in the Wings of Fire fantasy series (it’s all dragons) and a folding periodic table of the elements.” Sigh. I’m pretty sure I asked for a Davy Crockett hat.
How to Dream in a Foreign Language
Speak with an accent, as if your tongue had been soaked in vinegar, as if your teeth had been nibbling ice and cheese. Roll on the surface of this bed like a clown sweeping a puddle of light. Play a folk tune on the violin as the old couple dances in the living room. Collect smooth white pebbles by a small pond where children search for salamanders, the ones glowing red in late summer grass.
The pale gray road lit only by stars. Ted Kooser It’s something you might expect a couple of Hobbits to walk down, nearly invisible in their elven cloaks, but here I am, setting up shop at the corner, hoping the traffic picks up. I’ve got short poems for sale, baskets of them, picked fresh, right off the poetry bush. I got the idea from a friend who edits a poetry mag — a journal she calls it — that publishes work about the useful arts, like plumbing and carpentry. I sent her a dozen short pieces about meditating at the ocean’s edge. Not for us, she wrote, but quite dreamy in their own way. You could sell these on a night when the pale gray road is lit only by stars. She didn’t tell me she stole the line from Kooser, but still, I thought it was a great idea. I hand-lettered a sign, with prices up to a hundred poems, and I’m hoping the customers spend time looking for when the break kicks in. It never does - one poem, 8 dollars, ten poems 80 bucks, 90 poems, 720. When they stare and count on their fingers, it’s going my way. When they start to laugh, I know I’ve closed the deal. Sometimes, for repeat customers, I throw in a haiku or two, but I wink and ask them not to tell their friends. I’ve got a reputation to maintain.
©2021 Steve Klepetar
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