David Blair


Early Sunday, like a radish—
we walked through a cloud of pollen
and the compact serious faces
of Ecuadorians stacking boxes
at the dented Somerville Market Basket,
and there was always another thing,
another vegetable, more sofrito,
a split papaya like a lute. No K-Mart cha-cha
on the intercom. Wasn't that my childhood?
There was a retired bugler playing
"Anchors Away" at the bright end
of a funeral in the old guy's head,
so he tapped his hearing aid
and smelled like Calvert Whiskey.
When Sunday hit with May,
my Unitarian neighbors were kind green
rainbow brothers and sisters
at the bus-stop for their righteous church,
all in denim, invisible bonnets,
and shag openness,
though sufferers of gigantisms
were out in the fog all winter
with their mallets for clubbing
Yojimbo in the plate glass windows
of the Japanese Baptist Church
down on Somerville Avenue
where Market Basket has all the action 
tattoos across the tops of breasts
and the smalls of backs.
Dewdrops melted on a shattered windshield,
that was the hour when yard-sale scavengers
were hung-over twenty-five year olds
in the downstairs apartment,
totally different sorts,
but as the hour pushed one p.m.,
they were stumbling in the wake
of Baptists and Pentecostals
who pushed enormous hulls of virtue
into bright red and green dresses
and matching bonnets, pinstripe suits,
sanctity, husbandry, and dandyism.
Underneath all its Sunday clothes
a college town dressed as French maids,
with body, soul, and these very thin
slices of smoked salmon
in a sparrow's beak in the garden
from a rusted white iron patio set,
which was a good place to read Li Ho.

Watching snow peas trellised in the community garden,          
but did you have to be a snow pea blossom if I saw you?







As I was finishing this poem, I was reading David Young's Five T'ang Poets. I saw a giant at the supermarket who reminded me of the enormous man with the mallet in Yojimbo.