While growing summer days, I picked the roundest
pumpkins, just in case, and I begged the cat not to chew
the black and tan piebalds since they make the swiftest
horses. Still the rose bush that pricked my finger sent
me into some kind of a spell: blood poisoning, sepsis,
who knew? The men from the pipeline warned me
about tetanus, those hot days I’d stop the car to chat
about progress. But that night? It all came together.
I swear the lizard had piercing brown eyes,
a leather swagger, he hummed through malty
breath “Riders on the Storm,” sucked the amber
like he wanted my lip. He advised, “You better get your kicks.”
The lead horse was like a burning-barn horse,
it was he who crashed the carriage, head over heels,
I tumbled, ripped my best push-up, my curly hair
Rapunzel-loose. My coach spat me out. What
an entrance. I spun into the lobby, reeking
of a long night ahead, a borrowed beer, a promise
from a lizard king. Later, after they all scampered back
into their green-brambles, I sat on the step with a moon-dusty
throat wondering how was I to endure another night
of pinched toes, gazing adoringly at a grotty Valiant do.
Who knew? I had my chance and I blew it. To be safe, well,
that is the hurricane of caution. Once I had taken
the reins of a galloping night, each pumpkin seed
forced into the earth might render its baffling escape.
I was too busy overlooking all those handsome creatures,
while I turned princes into lizards.
Laurie Byro has been facilitating “Circle of Voices” poetry discussions in New Jersey libraries for over 16 years. Laurie was named “Poet of the Decade” by the InterBoard Poetry Community, as her poems received awards 43 times, including 2012 Poem of the Year as judged by Toi Derricotte. She is published widely in university presses in the United States and was recently in an anthology, St. Peter’s B-list.