Two Poems by Beverly Lafontaine
To the Homeless Man Lying Beneath the Overpass
Between you and the smoke-choked sun
tons of cement, asphalt, reinforced
steel allow the passing overhead
of twentieth century
chariots to their allotted
missions: home, hungry mouths and
mewling bleach- rinsed dreams.
You on your makeshift bed, one leg
outstretched, the other bent at the
knee in a classic lounging pose,
like me with the Sunday paper.
How do you do it with the world
passing by, with me passing by,
my bags filled with strawberries,
yogurt and an assortment of meat?
You’ve carved a place to live,
absent walls, out of common space
once reserved for wolf yearnings and
furtive splatters under the north star.
How you came to this means little.
Who looks for you, calls your name still,
lurks in the dark terror of your skull,
a blinkered battalion of ghosts.
At home I ponder your phantoms
in the mirror, my hands dutiful
to the prescribed 20 seconds
of soap and running water.
Every blink of my eyes conjures
a scene of endless blue sky or
warm hearth, yours or mine, a mirage
flickering above tar and mud.
May 25, 2020
Every morning begins in shadow.
Outside light slithers in, reshaping
chair, dresser, table
into childhood memories gauzy
with years of neglect.
Life is a busy thing.
If not the waning love,
then the stumbling child.
If not the failing body,
then the forgotten promise.
If not the fading dream,
then the lie revealed.
Today we all witnessed,
the death of a man,
his pleas, his struggles,
his body’s attempt
In memory of George Floyd, born October 14, 1973
Beverly Lafontaine is a Los Angeles-born poet and playwright. She has enjoyed four productions of her plays in the Los Angeles area and has had her poetry published in various poetry journals and anthologies, including online journals Poets Reading the News and MORIA as well as print journals Spillway, Beyond the Lyrical Moment, Blue Satellite, and So Luminous the Wildflowers. Four of her poems appear in Waves, the current anthology of women poets published by the AROHO Foundation. Her cross-genre projects include six of her poems incorporated into Walk a Mile in My Shoes, a sculptural art project erected by the City of Los Angeles in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and Scenes from Sarajevo in which she collaborated with composer Tom Flaherty to produce a prize-winning chamber music piece for voice, cello and viola.