Ghosts

The first time I saw him he was standing

in front of the Iranian embassy

with his mother, or with whom I assumed

was his mother. She wore a black bonnet

like a black flower. He wore a black

frock coat and a beige collar high

under his chins. His linen

was unimpeachable. His hat

high and mighty. Mother and son seemed

to be communicating mentally, like flowers.

The next time I saw him was at the

horticultural park. His cravat was crisp

and severe as a lily. I followed him

out onto the street. He wore

a panegyric trifle in gold across his chest,

and a truffle with ruffles snapped

across his midsection. His shapely mother,

or who I assumed was same, stood beside him,

with a black lace parasol and a faded carnation.

 

A parade passed by, and I lost sight of them,

a parade led by a marching band

with plumed hats and flashing brass angles—

and in its midst, a float in the shape of a giant

gentleman made of flowers, his blue frock cut

from foxgloves by expert tailors,

and he loomed unsteadily above

the sparks and metal of the street.

 

 

Geoffrey Nutter is the author of three collections of poetry, including A Summer Evening (winner of the 2001 Colorado Prize), Water’s Leaves & Other Poems (winner of the 2004 Verse Press Prize), and Christopher Sunset (Wave Books April 2010).  His  new book, The Rose of January, will appear in late spring 2013 with Wave Books. His poems have been widely anthologized, including in The Best American Poetry, The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Poems by Younger American Poets. He is an associate professor of creative writing at New York University.

 

Issue #18 December 2012
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