Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


A fillip. A fandango.

The police set about their work so tenderly! Like dolls built to simulate laughter. 
Like bells, they watch the space between themselves, not us. Its milky white. 

Their whos and wherefores have been smudged for our enchantment.  Once-upon-
their-bodies steamed good and stiff right into those ruffled blackcoats. 

And that’s how we like them, flushed, immobile to our bootless haste,
to the loose cargo drifting by—
                               calliope of tin and cash dashing asphalt.

We like each pistol’s toy piano ping, how it signals adjustments to temperature,
alters by degrees our own satisfactions, pin by pin,

a sound to rejoice in, as the police rejoice, without moving your lips or eyelids. 
The held sigh of a nebula, swelling. How we envy 

the buckles that clasp back at them. Their radios, looser, lean into the white air—
thumbed postcoitally, mindful, yet distracted. Their leather straps have been 
lathered and scraped and are lathered again by fog’s fur-based intelligence, 

that we wrap about our shoulders, that a splatter of ice-mud clings to. Their laces 
are latched 

to thread-holes as they themselves are latched to this morning, bent, raffiné with
frost. Imagine, their bodies a drum collecting us like steady beads in a dream!
And us as fervent, our flesh pink with flaps. 

Credit


Originally published in The Hat. Copyright © 2005 Tom Thompson. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson is the author of The Pitch (Alice James Books, 2006). He lives in New York City.

Date Published: 2005-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/fillip-fandango