Witness

April 30, 2013

by Lissa Kiernan


I step out to buy toilet paper and through the chorus of cars,
I think I hear the delicate, steady clip-clop of horse hooves.

The sound grows insistent, and through the leaves of the trees,
I sight the tips of white feathers—plumes of white feathers

like river reeds swaying in tandem with the breeze. One by one,
two white horse heads materialize, nostrils flaring with indignity

at their frou-frou headdresses, at being roped to this surrey
in, of all places, Brooklyn. An old black man taps

a steadying hand to his lopsided top hat—it, too, a monstrosity—
as he begrudgingly flicks the reins. White limousines follow.

Surely this is a movie set or an Irish funeral. Then I spot them
in the back of the cart: a couple, just married from the looks

of her dress, a bit dazed and—could it be? Yes. Embarrassed,
wondering just when this seemed like a good idea.

The woman—the new wife—sees me and waves, as if wanting
to make this the moment she’s dreamed, wanting the world to see

she is loved by someone who appears to be a nice-enough man.
He doesn’t wave, but he smiles, and tries to look less sheepish.

After all, it’s early November, late afternoon—
and there is yet some sun and someone to have seen them.


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Lissa Kiernan’s poems, essays, and reviews can be found in numerous journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Founder and director of The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, a provider of online workshops, Lissa currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York. Visit lissakiernan.com for more.

  1. Tony Press
    May 1, 2013 at 12:10 am | #1

    Better than a picture – lovely.

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