Jul/Aug 2006 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Barbara De Franceschi

Art by Victor Ehikhamenor

For Sale

door chains slip away / his handshake is cold
the threshold tells me I will not buy this house
despite its restless beauty

enormous rooms threatened
by the expression in his frigid eyes offer courteous assembly
I fain interest in fresh paint / stainless carpet

marble mosaic climbs up bathroom walls
looking for escape
bay windows push me aside

unable to explain—I tiptoe on clammy feet
hear snatches of distressed conversations
a cat's meow—

feel its body against my leg
without looking down
I know there is just awkward emptiness

the ghosts of cats & people
hoax these hollow dimensions
into placid presentation

pristine hallways stretch past discussion
there is thirst for conversation but little to say
the owner senses my intent

at the exact moment of exit... I swallow a scream


Roadside rest area Highway 32
trussed between the Thackaringa Hills & sundown

beneath a basic tin-roofed shelter
in the hoax of cool shade
flies swarm in a sticky halo
thirst belches on a desert heatwave

shattered beer bottles
disperse into every landscape
submerge their function
in arid isolation

jagged edges catch the setting sun
transient amber
with every passing truck

shards settle in a crazed mosaic
ants wobble to navigate
drunk on the scent
of yesterday's yeasty residue

severed from whole
time & dust will bury the mutilation
a courteous smothering—

glass ashes in a stony tomb


Thackaringa is a rugged stony range 40 kilometres west of Broken Hill in the Australian outback.


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