Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Monday, May 16, 2016

Doppelganger (Upon Waking)

She was dressed like the young maid in Girl with a Pearl Earring wearing a plain brown muslin dress and a blue sash over a white veil. She sat on the other side of the door in the pantry as one of the guests played the piano, his fingers trickling like water between a crevice and then pouring down, drenching everyone in sound. When it was over, there was a smattering of clapping, then silence, then an abrupt knock at the backdoor. It was the butler. He said that her lover had come to see her. Here? Now? she asked him. The butler touched his fine black hat and stepped back out into the night. When she saw her lover he was standing in front of his master's automobile reading the paper under the gaslight. She ducked back inside. She was impelled to rush out, but she hesitated; her fear got the best of her. She returned to the table flushed; the other servants were still eating their dinner, suspecting nothing. Her own plate was there with its dash of potatoes and slice of beef. She had excused herself once to the confines of the pantry to take full advantage of the music on the other side of the wall, but now to leave entirely? She went back to the table unsure of what to do. Then, a second knock at the door. The way the face looked in the glass...it could have been her lover's wife. She took a step back. The visitor knocked harder and one of the servants, Lizzie, asked who was doing all that wretched knocking. She waved her away and opened the door. Her father was there with the woman who resembled her lover's wife. The woman, without any hesitation, told her that this really wasn't her father; he was just someone who looked exactly like him, right down to the gold crowns in his teeth. (At this point she had forgotten all about her lover). "It's not him," the woman repeated. "Then there must have been some manipulation!" she cried. There was a scuffle at the table in the other room, the scrape of chairs. Outside one of the hounds was loose and jumped all over the two visitors, knocking them down. "You died!" she cried out. "It's not him!" The woman yelled. When the dog was properly retrieved, the two visitors--the woman who looked like her lover's wife and the man who looked like her dead father--crossed the threshold. Just before the entire scene blew up in her face, she said the words under her breath. "Doppelganger. I'll call this one doppelganger."

Monday, May 2, 2016

Est Deus in Nobis (Upon Waking)


What are you reaching for?

What are you yearning for?
You, craving this beauty or that truth
stirring like the vixen at three
in the morning her haunt wailing
under a hollowed out moon.
I cracked open the door
and cold early May stepped inside
while two stars sat like birds on
the horizon.

I went back to sleep.


In a dream, I walked to a shrine
in the woods where men
were learning to genuflect
and women ceremoniously disrobed
displaying each middle-aged body,
each forgotten hip and lacy breast.
In a vestibule, Asian scholars
translated texts that had recently been
unearthed; young people
with wide brows
reached out their hands to me.

I went out the side door

and worried I would not get back in.
Outside the shrine, beyond
the wing-backed stones,
beyond the fat, loose vines
and rusted gate were artists
peddling their wares.
I wanted to stop, I could have stopped

but this wayward beggar of thoughts--
yours, his, hers--this wayward beggar
of thoughts that I am,
I rambled on.