TOTI O’BRIEN

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Image by Jakub Pierozynski

SOLOMON

I have woven
myself into a tapestry of words
offered to you like a bunch
of white calla lilies
wrapped in semi-sheer
vellum paper.

I have waited
for the verdict with quiet
expectant anxiety
my eyes fastened
to my shoelaces, long
partially undone.

I have seen clouds
go by through the cathedral
window, painted cirri
enrobed in pink tulle
like young, polite
bridesmaids.

I have remembered orchids
and roses, silk ribbons.
I have kneeled
covered my eyes with
my palms, sweaty and
scenting of bleach.

I have waited
for your reply but you
have shifted your spectacles
up and down your nose
tense lips, eyes
turned inward

a jeweler scale
hanging from your index
and thumb, two tiny
brass dishes, drop
of honey on the right
sea salt on the left side.

EQUALS

Here they are, the twins in the bathtub
aged three, four, five, baby fat wrapping
their brief torsos, penises like tiny
conch shells niched between their thighs,
crazy toes, crazy, chubby fingers.

Over there, the twins squeezed in candid
bathrobes, puncturing the evening quiet
with their squeals, hair darkened by water,
dripping rivulets over porcelain tiles.

And the irrelevant gap in their heights,
the way he whom they already call
little one slightly curves his back.
How his chin easily trembles.

How the arch of the other’s eyebrow
lifts as if pulled by a wire, how
the tint of his curls is more lustrous.
How the orbits of little one, sometimes,
gather shadow.

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles Press, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Psky’s Porch, 2022) and Alter Alter (Elyssar Press, 2022).

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