Donald Justice’s Excerpt From Five Portraits

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Portrait With Flashlight

from Five Portraits
by Donald Justice

What lonely aisles you prowled
In search of the forbidden,
Blinking your usher’s torch,
Firefly of the balconies!

And when you found it – love! –
It was to pure French horns
Soaring above the plains
Of Saturday’s Westerns.

The defiant eyes laughing
Into the sudden beam,
The soft Mexican curses.
The stains, the crushed corsages…

Off, off with those bright buttons,
Poor spy. Your heart’s as dark
As theirs was and it speaks
With the same broken accent.

Girls read it in your eyes now
And ask for your autograph.
They torture you for secrets.
And you give them poems,

Poems with hair slicked back,
Smelling of bay rum, sweat,
And hot buttered popcorn.
Furtive illuminations…

projection room

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