WHY THE JUDGE’S CHAMBERS CAN CAN-CAN
You train your roaming eye
down to the undulation of his robe’s hemline.
You’re close enough to whiff a whisper of cinnamon breath.
His chambers are bright. Lots of double pane windows. Then an oddity—
framed, signed Dr. Seuss prints on the wall. Jim,
his assistant, lowly singing the hook from “Brickhouse,”
glances your way on “lettin’ it all hang out,” a line lingered at. Glee
would be the word. With open hand the judge motions you
to sit. The comfortable invitee’s
leather chair; sweet leather, milk chocolate color,
just enough sit and just enough give. The chambers’ door
couldn’t be wider open.
This judge feels like an ocean
as his sumptuous black robe is removed,
the familiar placing of it on the common coat rack.
It’s unsuitable—the green cargo pants
and river sandals! Clearly he’s a man,
this person who, with irenic mind, contours
behavior that binds other men.
At the lip of his gorgeous desk a polished
gold name plate. He jokes: touch it
and he’ll send your prints for analysis. The way he says it
tells you he’s cast it, his standard line. Whose nerves
are higher? You’d like to confound him, drive him
up his Seussian wall. He wants you to watch him
in these chambers, know he’s requested
your company. But he has a big kindness, a titanic
love for whomever he loves, and river
sandals are shoes for him, not a statement.
Without your asking
his assistant presents a beautiful glass of cold water.
You appreciate this. Liquid
sentence that makes you
change your unjourneyed mind.
CAMPING TIPS FOR SINGLES
You finally meet someone who compliments
your idea of interesting and he or she invites you
to do something entirely out of your element.
Do not regurgitate your recent meal, freeze
up in place or prevaricate. Try it,
try it for the sake of your ancestors
who tried everything: the shaky wooden ladder
above the many colorations of soil, the shorn pelt,
the hand extended speechless towards another hand.
Blame is a date-stopper, a useless commodity.
Yes, the metal coffeepot and granola bar wrappers
left outside the tent are big mistakes.
And yes, the real interrogatory always boils down to:
How much can a mountain lion smell?
For there it is, the snuffling, the padded-toe ambulation,
the making of indistinct but purposeful soft sounds
far enough away from the tent
neither of you is shrieking.
The creature’s nocturnal precision. Remember
the value of not bumping into anything; it crosses
the species gap. This is why
the good date always pockets hurricane matches.
Nothing like a roaring fire to scare a catamount
back onto its sward.
The compelling date is observant, yet encumbered.
No one can parallel your inimitable style
so do benevolence. Witness the marring of the sun’s
surface, those orphic patterns not unlike
the deciphering of tea leaves at the palm reader’s
but on a gigantic scale the size of which
you could get alarmed by, but don’t. Sunspots.
An imperceptible little shade today, granted;
tomorrow, a mountain of tidal stoppage.
When and if you return to your daily lives
think upon that monstrous beetle you prodded
with a dead branch. Waddling its girth away
from your amusement, its bizarre frontal pincers
dragging, and when it decided for you that you were
done with it, it lifted its immense household
off the ground and flew.
Copyright Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow 2012