Saturday, January 17, 2009

Siren (The Prose Poem Version)

After posting yesterday, I couldn't get this lady's voice out of my head (true to the title's mythological connotation). So I reworked the linguistic space I've been keeping her in into a prose poem. I like this version better, but I'm leaving both posted just as a witness to the writing process and so you can, perhaps, be the judge

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Siren

I only saw her once. As I’d paced the halls of an old folks’ home, she pressed from the crosshall—where other patients slept or stared, heads cocked against wheelchair frames, saliva fanned across sweaters and soiled linens—hands raised, fingers curled upon themselves, tempting those who could bear her straying eye and rotten smile to share forgotten bread: Have you ever had a Greek pastry? she said. Tell you what I’m gonna do. Next time you’re here, I’m gonna have a Greek pastry for you and your wife and your little girl there. I’ll order some from North Andover, from the church there. It should be here in three days. It doesn’t spoil. Tell you what, she’s a little doll. I think she’ll like the pastry. It’s not sour, it’s sweet; I think she’ll really like it. How old’s she? Almost two. She’s kinda small for her age, isn’t she? Tell you what, I’m gonna get some Greek pastry for you and for her—I’ve got the pamphlet in my room, in case you don’t believe me. It’ll take two or three days to get it here from the church in North Andover. I think you’ll like it. They gave me my Communion there. I’m Greek, you know. Tell you what, I’m gonna order some Greek pastry from North Andover. When you come back—it’ll take two or three days to get it here—stop by my room—I’ve got the pamphlet there in case you don’t believe me—and I’ll give you and your wife some, even a small portion for this little doll. Looks like she likes the bird. Don’t worry. It won’t bite; it’s in a cage. How old’s she? Almost two. She’s kinda small for her age isn’t she? Tell you what, I bet it’s hard to leave her. Is this her first time here? Have you ever had a Greek pastry?