Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sandy Solomon: Poison

The red-faced guard, his scant hair

pressed like a wish against his boney pate,

sat uniformed at the library gate

sternly blocking the un-elect like me.


After just a brief exchange, he flipped

my morning equanimity to rage

as he recited rules. I wanted to pound

the countertop.  Instead, I clenched my jaw


and, pouting, did as he instructed, then tried

to read my book.  But I found I carried something

new: a worm, a warmth, a fuse.  For hours,

that feeling ran like lust through muscle and bone,


my whole body.  Inside my head, I yelled

at him, complained to his boss. Only later

did I calm myself with thoughts that this man

must also daily rage in silence


as fortunate, snot-nosed students passed

his desk and him—the students unseeing, or,

if speaking to him, talking down.  I listened.

They did. Of course, he was  angry, ready to pounce.


And so he soured my morning, anger passed

along, pulled from a well of disrespect

without antidote or golden rule.

Life’s not poetry mostly, but nagging hurt.


Copyright 2018 Sandy Solomon

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