The first night in the city
I saw the sticker of a skeleton and roses on the back window
of a rust orange Nova, I think,
and smelled the scent of jasmine wafting through the open windows
of a sitting room of an apartment
in Russian Hill, I think,
and thought Lombard Street with its eight hairpin turns
was Lumbar Street, as if the stretches of road between the switchbacks
numbered one for each of the lumbar vertebrae.
John J. Trause, the Director of Oradell Public Library (New Jersey), is the author of six books of poetry and one of parody, Latter-Day Litany, the latter staged Off Broadway. His translations, poetry, pose, scholarship and visual work appear internationally in many journals and anthologies. He is a founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative in Rutherford, N. J., and the former host and curator of its monthly reading series.