Naked on auction blocks, pale eyes
blinking in the southern sun, they fetched
the most gold for looking least at home.
Their skin, woodland white, like Indian pipe,
demanded special protection; and for that
the Romans prized them all the more.

The Vikings gave it to the Irish:
fire from Iceland. Blood, from battle axes
long rusted into henna streaks in mud,
scours the plain, a blush invades--
red braids flying behind, spiked flail whirling--
thundering on horseback over throat and face.

Snow leopards carried down-mountain,
skittish in bamboo cages, are no more exotic,
the blacksmith's neon bloom no more electric,
moonshine, fire ants, volcanoes, cayenne candy,
pornography, scarlet fever, the burst of orange
that comes with a fist in the face, no more intense
than Rusty at crest and crotch; nor is the fox
with its slim black feet more elegantly dressed.

Rose Poto

If you have any comments on this poem, Rose Poto would be pleased to hear from you.