Two Poems

Charles Simic

Some Roadside Town

Where you take a sudden detour,
Not knowing why,
And are afraid to ask yourself,
And when you think you are ready,

You enter a small pet shop,
Sidle up to the parrot
Waiting for him to say a word,
While he turns his head

Studying the young woman
With hair fallen over her eyes
Who is checking on the hamsters,
One of whom she calls Dave.

Egyptian Horror Film

In that museum, in that back room,
Against a coffin thickly ornamented
With paintings representing
The burial rites and duties of the soul,
We undid each other’s buttons.

O tongue on fire in the burning mouth!
A unicyclist going up a pyramid!
A magician at a morticians’ convention.
Tossing up a flight of pigeons!
A live horror film to the ladies walking in!