he keeps dreaming life
around him. The lovers next door still
sigh through tangles of stars
and the stun of dawn.
The milkman awakens from his past
delivers milk like morning news in bottles
cream rising to the top reminds him of headlines
of one war ending and another about to begin.
In the schoolyard, down the street, children
chase each other into their futures
shriek stories that escape meaning
and break against the sky.
After last night’s rain, autumn leaves
fall into red and yellow abandonments
collaging on the ground, those random footprints
leading there, and there and there.
Evening and the dream tires of itself
rolls over, decides what color to follow.
The man calls to the dream as if it were a lost dog
leans against grief’s shoulder with an empty red leash.
What began with Chagall
They were out of place, this explosion of roses in the swirl of blue town
The neighbors awoke not to the gentle sun
but to the grin of crimson.
The roses were all wrong, blooms as huge as impossible promises
but they were loud and brash and totally in love
Folks on one side of the street kept their distance
gathered blue paint in the fields. Those on the other side
knelt before the roses, learning the language.
On Tuesday, the roses blast open
a shrapnel of petals landed on roofs and roads.
Landed on the faces of the town folks.
At first the children ran around trying to catch the petals on their tongues
Church bells were silenced, suffocating in petals.
By Wednesday, some neighbors were begging for blue
to pull out the red thorns from their skin.
Babo Kamel is a winner of Lilith Magazine’s Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Alligator Juniper, The Greensboro Review, Juniper, and Rust + Moth, and other poems are forthcoming in Painted Pride Quarterly.