CASSANDRA IN FLORIDA

She is large, and largely immobile
and occupies the bench by the road
that encircles the property like a noose.

She does this each day, a crust
or more of stale bread tucked away
in a pocket of her always floral

housedress that envelopes her
and the bench she occupies
as a monarch on her throne.

The ibis see her coming and gather
at her feet like acolytes awaiting
words from their sage and goddess.

She doesn’t disappoint them, telling
them a tidbit of the world, more often
who was taken sick overnight, who

died yesterday, always a shock
she says, then whispers conspiratorially,
but actually expected, of course,

for everyone here has numbered days,
and then tells them stories of her life,
real and imagined, the veil between

her truth and her fiction now diaphanous.
They grow impatient, but a good queen
reads her subjects and reaches

into the pocket pulling out the crusty
bread, smiles at her flock, says see, I bring
manna and together we cross the desert.

First Published in Chantarelle’s Notebook, March 2019
https://chantarellesnotebook.com/2019/03/22/

ETHEREAL

She appeared without notice,
not there, then there, she
half angel, half siren, half mad.

She appeared like Casseopaiea’s
faint shadow taking form,
stepping out of the sudden fog.

She was nymphlike, sylphan,
demanding attention, craving
the eyes of all who passed.

No one spoke to her, whether
out of fear or disinterest and she
grew angry, larger still, until

the full moon was clouded over,
Casseopeia returned to her throne,
and the ethereal one was gone.

THE BARD OF BROOKLYN?

If he were to appear here suddenly
I suspect Shakespeare would
be running a small theater group
in Brooklyn catering to an audience
drawn mostly from the LGBTQ
community, alternating productions
of gays and lesbians with Trans
and gender fluid having free choice
to reflect their true selves and not
in the roles genetics cast them.

If you asked him why, he’d say
that it was all Elizabeth’s fault, her
rule all roles were to be played
by male actors, no Joseph Fiennes
to set the old girl straight, a Puckish
way of putting it he’d admit, and
is it any wonder that a damned Scot
took the throne on her death,
he would add as a bellicose Falstaff,
she was a shilling short of a pound.

CASSIOPEIA

You sit on your self-made throne
and stare at the night sky
as clouds gather
and dissipate beneath you.
Do you even recall
why you were cast out,
condemned to your cell so vast
yet infinitely confining?
Does your body remember
the touch of his hand
the crude hunter
who set you aflame
with a white heat
that paled the sun of summer?
What do you imagine
as tongues of the Perseids
lick across the sky
and disappear into
the ebony holes that lurk
in the corners of your eyes?
You move slowly across my world
and only the dawn brings you peace.

First appeared in Abyss & Apex, Spring 2021 Issue 78
https://www.abyssapexzine.com/