Patricia Carragon

Ball and Chain

All I can see was the rain – Something grabbed a hold of me –
Feel to me, oh, like a ball and chain
—Janis Joplin

Rain’s persistence
doesn’t care

if lust seeps
through cracks.

Without a howl,
the wolf moon bleeds.

Gravity pulls me inward,
gets heavier

with the night.
Galvanized loss

wears a ball and chain.
My schoolgirl’s fantasy

wakes up,
removes her makeup,

watches the years
float down the drain.

Mona Lisa

Drawn by
her unusual smile,
he asked if he could join her.

With no explanation given,
she said, “No thank you.”

Her attention moved back
to the menu.

He walked away,
muttered a comment
not meant for her to hear,
added to the rude laughter
from alpha male peers
two tables away.

She wanted a night
to be alone—
her yin didn’t need
any man’s yang.

His yang,
only cared about himself.

Some would assume
she was cold—
even frigid.

Some would think
she was dumped—
even abused.

Others would say,
“You haven’t found the right one—
stop being so fussy,
be more open to love!”

The restaurant played
Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa.”

The old school lyrics,
sad and romantic,
almost made you feel sorry
for the man’s point of view.

The words still modern—
sex, a man’s game of chess,
played on moves
to trick the queen.

She smiled when happy,
not to tempt a lover.

She brushed his dreams
off her doorstep—
he wasn’t what she wanted.

When the song ended,
she finished her wine,
asked for the check.

Dinner would be Chinese takeout
delivered to her doorstep,
eaten in the privacy
of her apartment.

Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include Bear Creek Haiku, Jerry Jazz Musician, First-Literary Review East, Panoplyzine, The Café Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Nixes Mate, and Sensitive Skin. Her latest book is Meowku (Poets Wear Prada 2019). Patricia hosts the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.