the market

by Emily Liu
Issue: Ricercari (Summer 2012)

a clock tower peers over
the wisps of light brittle bark,
its slender steeple kissing a drop of water
in a gentle, secluded
binding promise of no words

detached from the world below:
as hissing wind buffets against bodies, rattles through
sooty canvas overhangs and steely metal poles
(poles dusted with the powder of ice crystals)
linked with the silvery, forked tongues of coat hangers—
hangers clothed in silk and cotton and furs
in hopes of admiring eyes
and wrinkled dollar bills,

iris, retina, pupil
focus upon lush fabric, to examine
the chipped metal loops of a pocket watch chain
then retreat behind wrinkled folds, grasping lashes
only to settle rather than explore.

it happens every saturday morning.
in the meager shade of slender, reaching branches
and the bold marks of electricity lines,
busy fingers lay out rows and rows of cheap trinkets,
neglected, threadbare toys their owners have long outgrown,
the rewards of monotonous time spent over yarn and knitting needles;
waiting for the one

and ignoring the ticking of the grand clock,
the delicate, spindly breaths of deciduous trees,
the snowflakes that settle on the sleek feathers
of fourteen huddled pigeons
discussing their day