Katharyn Howd Machan
she didn’t mind the broken roses,
the old chocolates scattered on the gold-rimmed plate.
All was glitter here. All was gleam.
The market had called her from an unknown place
and her eyes were reaching, searching.
He stood at his booth with a hundred elephants
lined-up to trumpet their ivory and glass.
Not a chip, not a crack, not a dent.
The wooden ones stood with their trunks from a forest
long-dead on a far-away world.
No one honest will ever dare
claim they know why two lost strangers would meet.
A velvet bag, a whisper.
She moved her feet from stall to stall.
He watched her, remembered.
A boy torn from a cousin’s arms,
the roar of black wings shredding sky,
traveling through space, a city.
Growing up knowing only aloneness–
and now, this face of wonder.
Author’s Comments: I do not recall which short story I was reading that gave me a vision of the market; the poem is not recent enough for me to do so.
For three and a half decades Katharyn Howd Machan, picking up where Rod Serling left off, has taught creative writing at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Her specialty courses, besides in poetry, are Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, Women and Fairy Tales, and first-year seminars called Fairy Tales: The Hero’s Journey. Her poems have appeared in 39 published collections and many magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, most recently A Slow Bottle of Wine (The Comstock Writers, Inc., 2020) and What the Piper Promised (Alexandria Quarterly Press, 2018), both winners in national competitions.
Editor’s Notes: Image details—a couple in silhouette (clipartmag) on colorful abstract wallpaper (yodobi)