"They" by Steve De France

Steve De France

Steve De France

Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in both 2002 and 2003. A few recent publications include The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Mid-American Poetry Review, Ambit, Atlantic, and The Sun. In England he won a Reader's Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem "Hawks." In the United States he won the Josh Samuels' Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem: "The Man Who Loved Mermaids." In 1999, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing.


Here is perfume of crushed roses,
a framed jesus walking petaled walls,
here they walk between doilies & new testaments.

They appear like polka dot flowers in jersey,
plugging up passages in supermarkets,
counting paper clips, unfolding coupons,
cashing a single check each month.

Not like the exaggerated women of Baudelaire
thrown like a projected skeleton before a Paris sun.
But quietly—some drawing breath in pain
they come back to their room,
where long into the night climbing moon
they listen to distant police sirens
& whirling helicopters
street sounds—squealing tires—women screaming.
They start at each real & imagined sound as
terrorists from the television news
come for their sex,
they touch bibles & check
the locks & chains again.

Will the sun ever come again?

At last the first frail flashes of sunlight,
show a preamble—then the genesis of another day,
opening with sure fingers white reality
a mailbox a 97 chevy a black dog
a milkman or is it a mailman?

They rise to fish teeth in glasses.
Take tea in a hand painted tea cup,
never mind it's chipped, things simply are.
As they open the window shade
to stare at the new grey day,
death does not seem so real now.

It is not unquiet in a quiet room,
it is quiet in a quiet room,
here is perfume of crushed roses,
a framed jesus walking petaled walls.