Pierrot’s Face

The trail to the museum cuts through the woods.
Generators hum into the wet earth.
A restroom with green tile off the path.
Ahead of me, an older man wears a blue and white coat
recalling a Napoleonic soldier.
In a bathroom stall, he tells me to open my mouth
wider, his breath catching as he comes.
We compose ourselves. My public face is a carnival mask
saying, I am formal and guileless.
I, who in my daily life am rigorous and aware
of limits, remember
the astrologer who told me, Loosening up
is your life’s karmic journey.
The painting I’m here to see is a small, garden scene:
two women speak with Pierrot. Are they gossiping
about the affairs of the local priest?
Is this a rehearsal for a play without a lesson,
a story with deferrals,
torches in the dark, and a bridge to a secret grotto?
One in shadow and the other in quarter profile,
the women respond to his hidden face.
They are bored of his ballads.
They want to see him sweat.
They demand a dance.
Untie the pink ribbons from your shoes!
Everything and nothing, they want for everything and nothing.

Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA Editions, 2021) and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions, 2016). A chapbook, Black Sand, is forthcoming from Foundlings Press in early 2022
Derrick Austin

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Author: Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA Editions, 2021) and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions, 2016). A chapbook, Black Sand, is forthcoming from Foundlings Press in early 2022