If you look closely you will see tumbleweeds blowing by
while the leaves swarm in circles on the labyrinth
waking the dead, or the seemingly sleepy survivors
of the catastrophic cholesterol climb into your window
and you thought you had it locked.
Tumbleweeds in St. Paul? Minnesota? Mid-October?
Stranger things have happened and continue to happen
when you think you are immortal.
Stop and take your temperature; tie a rope around the
daunting cloud that insists of hovering above you before
sleep sets in and hunger knows no marrow.
At Ivy and Arcade remnants of her high school crumble into sand.
A Tonka truck along with a cracked red pail line the side of the street
where an Asian couple walks hand in hand; the woman is wearing mismatched
pajamas and ancient moon boots while her partner exhales smoke from a cigarette.
He stops and picks up the red pail, puts it on her head and laughs; she
curtsies then swerves into a red-headed jig and catches him off-guard
as she tosses the pail back in his court. Together they discuss revels of the world,
heads bent in anticipation of finding valuables to weigh down
the pail they’ve now claimed as their own.
The Mexican bakery is to the right, windows steamed, dough rising
and up the street at Cook and Arcade the yellow sign reads Gold Teeth and
Fine Jewelry. A trip inside to fondle the teeth, interpret their last words is warranted.
Perhaps their tongues, their counterparts, have been sold on the black market, antes upped
until the formaldehyde spills and everyone holds their noses, shakes their heads
and once again breaks into dance while whispering about unforeseen treasures.
Gold can be found is the strangest places.
Suzanne Nielsen, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, teaches writing at Metropolitan State University. Her poetry, fiction and essays appear in literary journals nationally and internationally; some of these include Mid-America Poetry Review, Identity Theory, The Pedestal, Word Riot and 580 Split. Nielsen holds a Doctorate in Education from Hamline University.