from Later, Wetness



The house is full of young people who are under the influence of a local street vendor. When I realize that he knows nothing that would be of help to them, I hustle him out and although he pleads his case, I don’t believe him. He takes his ice cream cart and leaves as I watch through the window. One of the young men, a friend of my son’s, shows me his delicate palms. They are decorated in henna patterns. One of his hands has a red eye in the middle of one finger. His hands appear to be partially erased. He holds them up for a long time and they seem to be disintegrating as I stare at them.




Since I feel so comfortable in the group, I offer my white coat that hangs in the closet. When someone tries it on, it is much too long and that person looks horrible. I offer her a knit-top, like a sweater, that cannot compare with the designer white coat that I’ve barely worn since its purchase from a thrift shop. The closures are snaps that contribute to the sense that it is an old white blanket. Still I am reluctant to name the designer.




After a little while of just sitting we see an area where kittens and cats are playing with large inflated balls of many colors. They say that this scene represents the universe and the way it works. That idea doesn’t bother me at all and actually seems reasonable and satisfying. The balls shift as the kittens pounce and knock them around. It is a theory that is new and seems to work if you don’t mind the activity of animals.




Barbara Maloutas is the 2008 Sawtooth Poetry Prize winner for the whole Marie, (Ahsahta Press). Her books and chapbooks are In a Combination of Practices (New Issues Press), Coffee Hazilly (Beard of Bees), Practices (New Michigan Press/Diagram) and Her Not Blessed (Les Figues Press). Her work has appeared in journals including Aufgabe, FreeVerse, Tarpaulin Sky, Segue, Good Foot, The New Review of Literature, bird dog, dusie, elimae, Interbirth Books, Greatcoat, OR, kadar koli, Octopus and Puerto del Sol.