by Best Poem
Like Aswa and Cary Grant
Like Thalaba danced and slew through Babylon
chased by Abdaldar until the end.
The end where small drawing rooms
held their names in tender jokes
with sun all around the ferns.
Like no one says the winter is so short.
She tucks her legs
beneath her on the corner
of the couch and watches
all the old movies in the afternoon.
Like the man who discovered oxygen
and admitted later to dancing.
Like blueprints for a dog house
spread across plywood and saw horses, backyard
with new smells of meat and grass and sun.
She goes through her old pockets
and reads shopping lists and notes
about therapists and cat food,
notes cracked and shadowed
with ink in the creases.
Like General Sherman’s long days
in the Carolinas and the fear of rabies.
The fear of water matched with flame.
Like how he felt he too chased Thalaba
scraping the colored sands of old Syria.
It’s all right to be frightened.
She hangs a painting of Domdaniel
and wishes she had visited places like
that in the Europe she once imaged years ago.
Its colors match the sheers, match the sky, match the season.
She settles in with lemonade cracking ice cubes in the dusk.
Ethan Elgin graduated from UMASS Amherst in 2005 and spent the next few years working as a mental health counselor in various locked psychiatric units in Massachusetts. He has been published in several journals, including most recently The Avatar Review, Pulp City and the Furnace Review. He lives in Watertown Massachusetts with his fiancée and is currently working on is third novel / memoir.