TATIANA PAHLEN

 

Carl III

 

The rapid rain
Ran through my broken brolly*
and drenched me to the bone.
I found refuge inside a kosher deli
Next to a cat that scratched his swollen belly
and munched ecstatically on the lifted Matzo bread.

I stroked the beast; it sniffed my every finger
Rubbing his fur against my dripping feet;
His razor nails were longer than his whiskers
His murky eyes rotated like two diskettes,
As if he sampled a cured high-voltage weed.

"Hello," he said, "I hate this horrid weather."
I gazed at the chatty cat with disbelief.
He licked his paws and mopped his face with saliva
"By the by, my name's Carl the Third.
I am not a thief!"

"Try some of those," he marveled at the pickles
Floating calmly in the wooden jar,
With royal grace he fished the hardest out;
I heard the crunch Carl's bite was oddly loud,
Then he insisted on the local bar.

Why not, I thought, shivering in wet clothes
the rain remained to reign at large.
On his way out, Carl snatched a long-stemmed rose
"For you!" he whispered, "free of charge!"

"Oh, how charming!"
I thanked my furry fellow;
We guzzled whiskey soda till midnight.
When he excused himself, my purse was free of wallet.
That's what I learned:

Don't trust the stray that smoothly wins you over,
Or other loners that are conspicuously polite.

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring

 

The glow of the solo pearl,
Once lost in rays of beaming light,
Transpired in the sparkle of the eyes
Bursting through the bewitching frame,
Aiming at me those lonesome mirrors.

I'm drawn to their lucent charm
they stare calmly with a prudent drive
;
leaning forwards and disarmed
I study the face of a Flemish maiden,
capturing viewers from the wall.

I cast a smile at this solemn soul,
She smiled back, then leaped off the frame
To give me her second, abandoned pearl,
She let go for the sake of a curl,
Fixed on the side of her covered ear.

With chills up my spine I clasped the pearl,
still warm, which made me feel dazed.
Looking back at Vermeer's canvas,
I caught the artist's withdrawn gaze,
Hidden in the eyes of his far-fetched girl.

 

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Sentinel Poetry #32

ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY. JULY 2005. ISSN 1479-425X