C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

SPHINX; WHEN I AM OLD

By: J.R. Solonche



SPHINX


Do you think that’s all the Sphinx said?

What else do you think the Sphinx said?

Do you think your guess is as good as mine?

Do you think she said, “Whose head do you have?”

Do you think she said, “Whose body do you have?”

Do you think she said, “You look like a sand flea?”

Do you think she said, “Yet you made me?” Do you think she said, “I felt your hammer and your chisel?”

Do you think she said, “Do not think, however, that I am your slave?”

Do you think she said, “You are my slaves, you who made me?”

Do you think she said, “My greatest gift is my silence?”

Do you think she said, “Be thankful?”

Do you think this is a riddle?

Do you think she said, “Be thankful?”







WHEN I AM OLD


When I am old, I want a cane.

I want to be the third part of the Sphinx’s riddle.

I want to go on three legs in the morning.

I want to go on three legs in the afternoon.

I want to go on three legs in the evening.

I want to tell the maker of the cane, “Spare no expense.”

I want to tell the maker of the cane, “Make the shaft from the stoutest oak.”

I want to tell the maker of the cane, “Fashion the knob handle from the purest

of silver in the likeness of the full moon.”

I want to tell the maker of the cane, “Attach a tip of the hardest brass

so that it will sing on the pavement, so that it will dance a tap dance, a tap dance.”

I want a cane when I am old.

I want to dance when I am old.

I want to dance a brass tap dance on my grave.




 

Nominated for the National Book Award and twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, J.R. Solonche is the author of twenty-six books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.