by William Doreski
Artwork; “Chillies” by Amanda Streetman
Eager for a change of clothes,
I rush to the men’s shop but find
most garments ugly or wrong-sized.
Bearskins only in grizzly,
far too big. Lambskins too small.
Cowhide trousers too tight, shirts
too crude and reeking of tannin.
So I’ll go vegetable. Fig leaves
fit all. Then a banyan wrapper,
milkweed and nettle for warmth.
A layer of magnolia blossoms.
A vest woven of budding twigs.
Shoes with pine uppers, teak soles.
Knit together with grapevine sash,
I’m an anthropomorphic figure
by Giovanni Stanchi, late
of Rome. His creatures sport fruit,
and once I flower in the rain
fruit will follow: apples, pears,
mangoes, melons, orange and peach.
Garbed in this healthy regalia
and creaking like a forest
I’ll march to the conventional hall
to deliver the keynote address
from a script printed on the peels
of a hundred green papaya.
If I had found a bearskin that fit
I’d growl that address in tones
no one would dare to dispute.
But as a fruit salad I’ll present
myself so armored in calm
no one will think to question
the most cubist of my conjectures.
My leaf-cover sighs and rustles
as the breeze inspirits me.
The rain, as I had expected,
brings forth flowers everywhere,
rebuking the diesel bus odors
with gusts of tropical splendor
fresh on the tip of the tongue.