Poetry: Illusions clothe by Eli Goldblatt

To cut thru things around us—this gentle
surgery always at hand, incited by scent or red
scarf or blue rough hand towel—not memory
alone nor lingering regret but a fresh trail in
faint snow, katsura leaf caught on a drying
weed stem, full moon yellowed on late
December horizon line. Fire sirens from
3 blocks away mark bright henna scars
across my cheek. Bribes & duplicity, anger

& hate: illusions clothe passengers on the
bus, cops patrolling the pitted avenue, even
a little trembling dog held in his ancient
owner’s arms as they enter the Rite Aid
at Walnut Lane.  Blankets & screens,
scaffolding & brackets, wheeled walkers
& carved canes. I look up at lights around
Vision Works, down at the slab lifted by
a curbside maple.  I’m afraid of falling &

I fall into the cauldron dyeing heavy cotton
weave an iron orange, repeated figures
dance at the hem neither precious nor
coarse. I choose the middle path to govern
spirits when I cry out in dream, banishing
abandoned children from our rooms.

Eli Goldblatt’s poems have appeared over the last forty-five years in small literary journals such as Hambone, The Pinch, and Cincinnati Review. His 2019 poetry collection is For Instance (Chax P), and others include Speech Acts and Without a Trace. His children’s books are Leo Loves Round and Lissa and the Moon’s Sheep.  His most recent book on composition and literacy, co-written with David Jolliffe, is Literacy as Conversation: Learning Networks in Philadelphia and Arkansas (U of Pittsburgh P). He is Professor Emeritus of English at Temple University and formerly director of New City Writing, an institute focused on community literacy in North Philadelphia.

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