Ed Rosenthal: “Landlady”


I can’t get a straight answer from her but I don’t mind
my mind being bent by beautiful turns of phrase
Quilts of words with soft stich less edges wrapped
in overlapping designs from one side to the other.

Word bouquets imitate petals bent in the breeze
crinkle like the pink edged white roses
she grows that carry the eyes away and back,
away and back from sheltered green hedges.

I don’t care if I get a straight answer all day
gives me time to peruse her giant desk glossary
Let her pretend distraction by her workers
whom she runs like a Catholic Nun with a ruler

that I wished was applied to me if I only had gone
back sixty years erasing the business corridors
and the engineering obsessed technical academy
and metamorphized to a girl in Catholic school?

Then when I’m ten and had fully studied Mythology
History and Judeo-Christian Spirituality, I’d see
a silly boy like I was riding his bicycle hard along the
black wire fences in a web of spokes and shadows.

I’d know what type of trick question to ask myself
Just like she does, seemingly simple but devious,
Tricky but not odious, not malicious but ensnaring.
Something like this, I’d ask the silly boy:

“Boy, do you think you can catch the sun like that?”

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