How gently the tourist
Unsure of himself
Gestures to the vegetable seller
"Am I next?"
How gently the woman beside him
Requesting three turnips
Ignores his question.
The seller's adolescent son
Anxious to help both but caught between,
How gently his serious father
In an undertone lectures him
On precedence. How the tourist's heart
Warms, observing the intent boy,
At an inside stall a rougher seller
Backs the bloodless head of a wild boar
Against the blade of a slicing machine
And out come the thinnest bacon strips
For a dauntless cloaked woman
Whose fluffy small dog at the end of its leash
Props and reprops itself against one of her ankles.
Poems by Jonathan Bracker have appeared in Poetry Northwest, The New Yorker, RavensPerch, and other periodicals; in several small press anthologies; and in seven collections, the latest of which is Concerning Poetry: Poems About Poetry (Upper Hand Press: 2018). He is the editor of Bright Cages: The Selected Poems Of Christopher Morley (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1965; republished 2018).