- Folie a Deux, and: Before the Swimmers Reached the Egg
Folie a Deux
The man to my left remarkson the weave of my sweater.
I let him wear the sweater;in exchange he gives me his coat.
The Italians, he says,pointing at the suede loafers
I bought in Milan and we trade shoes,his being boots,
the kind that look like oxfordsuntil under the pant cuff you find
the zipper on the inner side.We're drunk and riding
the Intercity Expressfrom Frankfurt to Berlin, Christmas Eve,
ordering round after round of lagerin the nearly vacant dining car. [End Page 113]
Who knows anything these days?This is a new idea at least,
something to understand much later,swapping my black jeans for his ivory slacks
and too our eyeglasseswatches, wallets, telephones,
his tungsten band for my signet ring.We might keep it this way,
each article fitting more or less,and disembark,
he in Leipzig, I to the end of the line,somewhat altered.
Before the Swimmers Reached the Egg
She would use the woods for hiding.She hid behind braided ficus trees
or else inside the boles of dead chestnuts.I played the role of Seek.
For laughs I called to her by name,teasing her with her given name,
the mythic huntress, Diana.I found her under a steaming pile of leaves, [End Page 114]
found her at the bottom of a pondhugging a stone for weight,
then down a fox hole and underan overturned canoe.
She painted her face raven blackand wore magpie feathers in her hair.
She disguised herself as a meadow of nodding flowers,too heavy for their stems.
She was Nero, Leopold II,Stalin's moustache,
she coaxed me deeperinto her scrawny body.
She was a satchel full of crickets.She was my twin; we were identical twins.
Then we heard horsesin the summer cold, a man
barking orders to other men,pulling a loaded wagon
of cut turffor the fires of that other world. [End Page 115]
Keith Alexander lives in Los Angeles and part of the year in Frankfurt. He has had poems published in numerous journals including Seneca Review, The Sun Magazine, Massachusetts Review, and Salt Hill Journal. At present he is translating a small selection of German poems and finishing his own collection of poems, his first, The Book of Treatments.