Two Poems
Patrick Leonard


After having read in a freely distributed, handwritten newspaper of an expert boatman's vessel sinking with his entire family, immediate and extended, on board, Miriam suspected a gross misconduct. Miriam took in as much of her cigar as the law allowed, thrust it to the bottom of her water glass and shrieked Vincent's name a suitable number of times. Vincent, of course, was not the boatman or any member of the family, but the Solicitor of Proper Habits for Local Prisoners. Most recently, Vincent convinced news editors of his cost effective and morally responsible program. Initially, the headlines were misspelled but readable and after a period (one must assume of severe punishment) the papers became remarkable artifacts of those diligent laborers. Miriam recognized the discrepancy of facts from paper to paper as a result of her obsession with a script that could undress her with the most modest sentence.


Miriam walked the shore with attention to heel depth and placement while she invented shapes for the tag-along children tugging at her skirt and pinching her buttocks. She sent those children without manners off with a slap and when necessary, a hard kick to the leg with her wet shoe. Emma delivered appreciation better than all the children and for such a quality, she received Miriam's early morning, and therefore, most sumptuous designs lifted straight from sleep. When the construction allowed, Emma would race through sunrise rituals of the town to the olive canvas that covered Vincent's door from view. Emma, bored by negotiations, yielded to Vincent's demands of price when they seemed within reason and did not let her meager stature effect her business position as evidenced by his single eye and the slight bulge always in her apron pocket.