Monday, December 8, 2008

Hunchback Dwarf at the Market

Rides by
On her custom


Ignores our questioning

And pauses before
A stall

Full of fresh green leafy vegetables,
To show her farmer lady friend

What it is she has
We were wondering about

In that small
Brown flower pot--

A snail,

Small as a new-born baby's thumbnail
And a tiny tenderfoot tortoise--

Miniature grotesques

Along for the ride
Like the rest of us,

Looking curiously
Larger than life.

(First published in First Intensity #21, Fall 2006)


  1. I love how "Looking curiously / Larger than life" inhabits a grammatical open ground where it can apply to the snail, the tortoise, and/or "the rest of us," as if the glimpse into the miniature world makes everything "larger than life." I can't explain the strong effect—like that instant when the express elevator accelerates upward....

  2. Excellent poem. I wonder if this is the same woman who came to our door, when we lived in Meligalas, to sell us flowers.

  3. It's the same woman, John--and she's still alive and alert as ever--too bad the people who make fun of her never see how grotesque their behavior is. Glad both Joe and you liked the poem.


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