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by Ljubo Popovich

Her eyes were gems of wormwood, fiery green.
Her hands were bundles of nerves, cigarette burns.
Intoxicated shadows clung to her skirt.

I succumbed to the velvety elixir of her dance,
Dissolved in the saccharine illusion of her smile.
I learned what the insomniac dreams
In damask labyrinths of melancholy.

Here were her hidden cities,
The perplexing caverns of her life,
Memories caught in copper moonbeams,
Xanthic headlights, frantic streams
Of people, frothing traffic in an albumin of fog.

She slipped through sidewalk cracks like smoke
And, there, too, I hovered wraithlike.

She led me into alleyways of longing,
To tombs of glittering hubcaps
Where addled vagrants sipped nepenthe,
And hoary steppes of toadstools oozed
Like ghost-pox stippling brickwork,
Past dangling centipedes illuminated
In neon spangles and albino pigeons
Swiveling like witless eyewitnesses
To my solitary migration.

In her wake I gathered molted masks
Like some narcotized cognoscente.
All the while I wended,
Haunted by a bittersweet Basilisk,
Tracing illusory tapestries of memory.

A frolicsome owl stitches starlight
Through waxy agonies of tamarind,
Spiders tickle their webs like zither strings,
And I, a haggard pilgrim,
Hobble under crumbling pillars of bismuth,
As that creature stalks through hyacinth
Pollinated with ambrosia.

Skyscrapers approach behind a heady mist.
My heartbeat has dwindled to a twitch,
Soon, I will unravel and ignite
Like a marooned astronaut grasping at the tail of a comet.
Under a darkening rainfall of bitumen,
I watch her mingle, strut about,
As my sap drains into the gutter.

Copyright © 2018 by Ljubo Popovich

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