Alchemy of smoke
Each holds as if to warm his hands
a long pipe with blue porcelain bowl.
Their eyes are thin slits of darkness
in the afternoon shade. On each bowl
a story has been glazed, in each puff
of smoke there is the shape of a woman
assuming the air around her.
Blue-eyed mulattoes draw figures
in the dust to ward off wind.
Their bamboo sticks reach out
as if to touch, the same way lepers
might touch their own eyes in disbelief.
Slowly, the street and the blue bowls glow
white hot. Even the sun exhausts
the possibility of forgiveness.
Richard Weaver lives in Baltimore Maryland where he volunteers with the Maryland Book Bank. One day he hopes to make the last payment on his student loans. His book, The Stars Undone, was taken from a larger collection about the Mississippi artist, Walter Anderson. Four poems later became the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars, composed by Eric Ewazen of Juilliard. His 2016 publications or acceptances include Aberration Labyrinth, Allegro, Clade Song, Conjunctions, Crack the spine, Dead Mule, Five 2 One, Gingerbread House, Gloom Cupboard, Gnarled Oak, Kestrel, Little Patuxent Review, Louisville Review, Magnolia Review, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, OffCourse, Quiddity, Red Eft Review, Southern Quarterly, Steel Toe Review, Stonecoast Review, The Literateur, & Triggerfish.