Dali’s Invisible Man at Home
Truth is a sword that slices along
two edges—for mercy, for justice;
lovely as spring blossoms, yet
able to cut. It’s certainly not
what he says, what he does,
deceiving innocents at a river bank
usually near dusk; not who he says
he is in the dark where he fails
to see any difference. Because tonight,
as truth sharpens at least one edge,
he scrambles for the invisible
cloak of Father reading to his child
a bedtime story of rainbow promises
in skies now clear of storms;
the invisible ware of Husband
trying to resuscitate his coding
marriage—brush of skin, vintage
wine under early evening stars.
How surprising when all to him
seems like wrapping arthritic knees
in silken bands against the threat
of gale-force winds.
Because tonight, he sees
the yellow clouds shaping his hair;
ruins scattered across barren landscape
forming his upper torso, the panic
striking face and lash-less eyes;
waterfalls creating the legs that carried
him to and from a secret rendezvous
where he broke it off with a little red
dress, tongue-ring clicking against
her teeth. Arm roping her shoulders,
he sold the shapely, short-lived lie
of love that doesn’t last. She bought it,
only to end up with lean fingers in a lion’s
clutch at nothing by the lapping waves.
Stuns him, though, when her tears
haunted his trek home … where now
he wades the disquieting
end of trying to hide from a tyranny
of conscience not the Father nor
the Husband ever knew he had.
Olga Dugan is a Cave Canem poet from Philadelphia, PA. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes, her award-winning poems appear in The Southern Quarterly, Virga, Kweli, E-Verse Radio, The Sunlight Press, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Peacock Journal, Origins, Cave Canem: XIII, The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, Tipton Poetry, and other publications. Articles on poetry and culture appear in The Journal of African American History, The North Star, and Emory University's “Meet the Fellows.”
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