1. The Green Man

    rumdumb from last night’s shrubbery tryst
    exhales soot, fernseed, shoots and vines,
    brings his hot breath from the city park’s wood,
    saying a song we don’t understand
    through the briar and bay leaves of his beard.
    And in Philadelphia, 1954,
    out of late autumn’s darkening he came,
    a junkman lugging a Penn Fruit cart,
    straw bristling his face, crying a name.
    Or from manholes in other cities,
    his holographic ectoplasm greets us
    when traffic lights turn green.
    Uncover and there he is, membranous
    Caliban alone with sewer rats,
    or stumblebum Puck, unnameable solids
    crusting nails and toes, bringing us his dark.
    Or our neighborhood’s soused John-John,
    cobra down-at-heel boots skidding
    at my feet among the maddening jasmine,
    when I grab too late to save him growls:
    “I can save you darling pigs.
    Behold, behold, and maybe I’ll help.”

    By W. S. Di Piero.

  2. Circe’s Power

    I never turned anyone into a pig.
    Some people are pigs;
    I make them Look like pigs.

    I’m sick of your world
    That lets the outside disguise the inside. Your men weren’t bad men;
    Undisciplined life
    Did that to them. As pigs,

    Under the care of
    Me and my ladies,
    they Sweetened right up.

    Then I reversed the spell, showing you my goodness
    As well as my power. I saw
    We could be happy here,
    As men and women are
    When their needs are simple. In the same breath,

    I foresaw your departure,
    Your men with my help braving
    The crying and pounding sea. You think

    A few tears upset me? My friend,
    Every sorceress is
    A pragmatist at heart; nobody sees essence who can’t
    Face limitation. If I wanted only to hold you

    I could hold you prisoner.

    By Louise Glück