Poet's Corner: Tuesday’s Child


By Rob Burnside

There’s a large lady blocking the Poetry/Literature aisle

at my favorite bookstore. She’s standing square across

the thoroughfare, reading intently, looking very much

like my 10th grade English teacher when he was

about to recite Keats or Wordsworth — nose up and

book arm outstretched, peering down through

his half-spectacles and announcing, con brio,

“Po-em! Po-em!”

But he was a sweetheart. She looks nasty.

One of those mean mesomorphs who got that way

by eating too many bonbons, stroking the Chihuahua

all day, and rarely venturing out except to terrorize

the ectomorphs. She knows I’m here, I’m sure she does,

but if I say, “Excuse meee” or “Pardon meee”

she won’t budge. Don’t ask me how I know.

I just do, somehow.

So, I’ll try an end run back out of Poetry/Literature

and trot all the way around through Fiction to the other side

where there seems to be more wiggle room. They taught us

how to do this in Basic — go around if you can’t go through.

By the time I get there, she’s redeployed too. She’s at

the opposite end of Poetry/Literature in the very same

defensive posture, only now she has one foot forward,

stretched and pointing, in dance position #4.

Maybe she’s a Valkyrie, come to escort me to Odin.

Or an IRS agent, double checking my “office in home.”

Or my Fairy Godmother, shielding me from sentimentality,

doggerel, and misplaced modifiers. It helps to write

about things like this, but I don’t know precisely why.

Actually, I haven’t the foggiest notion why.

I’ll try again tomorrow. Hopefully,

she’ll be gone.

Rob Burnside, a yearly visitor to Edgartown, is a retired firefighter and published poet (chapbook “Falling Off the Bone” currently available on Amazon) from Kingston, Pa.