by Allen M. Weber
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, May 2008
Judged by Patricia Smith

She likes to hike her dirty denim pants,
to teeter on a trash receptacle–
the daring daughter of a spectacle
that people pass without a sideways glance.

Behind an Appomattox five-day fast,
Miss Via’s waking found her drunk and stark,
balled up inside her three-wheeled grocery cart.
She stretched and mumbled how she couldn’t last

in cities of her selves. In store-front glass
she strikes a pose of someone else’s life–
an author or a famous bastard’s wife.
If beetle-black reflections scurry past

she’ll trap them with the dash-like Emily.
And if she carries tomes about the town–
because there’s no good way to set them down–
the critic cites her incivility.

Tonight beneath Graffiti Overpass,
she flings tomatoes at her drying work
daubed overhead. Ideas on a lark
lean Via west like tributary grass

before a petulant Atlantic : She
may lumber through the lower altitudes,
strip down the dress of urbane attitudes,
and clamber above inhibiting scree.

Out there she’ll learn to taste untroubled air,
to make her water on unpublished leaves,
to rub her narrow rump on trunks of trees,
to go as Appalachian as a bear.

"She stretched and mumbled how she couldn't last/in cities of her selves"--lines such as that one fueled this marvelous character study. I was engaged me so immediately that the creative adherence to form was a secondary, unexpected delight. --Patricia Smith