Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
SHJ Issue 1
Spring 2010

[Two Poems]

Philip Dacey

New York Postcard Sonnet #85

Out on the street, I can’t help but eavesdrop.
“Forgive me if I’m speaking out of school here.”
“George is the guy who set that meeting up.”
“We have to give thirty-five percent to her?”

“Eat something you can’t pronounce.” “What’s wrong
with people? Everybody’s bumping into me.”
“She wants to play this incognito thing.”
“I think it’s flowery; it smelled flowery.”

“You know what, she was pretty mean last night.”
“I was following someone else’s curly black hair.”
“I’m not sure, so I’m freaking out about it.”
“She’s not crazy, she’s just scared, really scared.”

“I want to go somewhere we don’t have to hide.”
“Everywhere you look, there’s another bride.”


Don’t Tell Sister Mary Rose

The nuns said don’t don’t don’t
drag your finger underneath
the words you’re reading
and threatened my hand
with rulers to drive home the point.

It only slows you down,
they said, and God gave you eyes
for reading, fingers
for reverently taking hold
of rosary beads.

But now the immigrant
who sits beside me on the subway
and whose finger acts as a fleshy
pedestal for each successive word
in her Beginning English book

has brought home to me
still one more pleasure
I was deprived of by the Church,
that any poem is best approached
as if it were a string of beads,

the finger moving lover-slow
beneath each syllable, the language
gloriously straddling the border
between the alien
and the familiar, the lines

all rosary, rosary, rosary.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury