Thursday, November 30, 2006

BIG TOE by Monya Clayton

(This monthly assignment was to choose from a number of unfamiliar topics and perhaps research them and produce poetry or prose. Topics included: Aurora Australis, Hannibal, Angkhor Wat, Big Toe, Big Ben (i.e. the mechanicism in the Tower of Westminister), cold fusion, Boerwurst sausage. Monya bravely incorporated them all!)

Aurora’s pale dawn light
slips beneath the bedroom blind –
and ah! Big toe, I see you,
sticking out from under the blanket.
She catches you in a sunbeam
and as I’m half sleeping still
I envision you, silhouetted against the built-ins,
as a noble monolith,
much bigger than you really are.

What do you look like?
Pink and white with a crooked nail,
shaped by my mother’s genes -
No. Something more interesting?
A round of yummy Boerswurst sausage –
for Hannibal Lecter the cannibal?
No thanks.

No, much nobler! You’re white on top -
Thanks to poor circulation -
Like a snow-capped mountain.
An alp, no less! A mountain climbed by
Hannibal the general of Carthage
when he marched over the Alps to battle with Rome. Elephants went with him,
dragging their poor tropical toes in the snow.
I can see them all, descending the pass between
my big and second toes…

Or maybe you’re the tower of the great clock of Westminster
that boasts the bell of Big Ben.

Or, speaking of towers, perhaps you’re
a carved sandstone tower
lording it high over the temple of Angkhor Wat.
Or one of the towers of its city Angkhor Thom –
capital of the Khmer kings of Cambodia.

Then Aurora touches big toe
with her chill white hand.
It remembers it has arthritis,
clamps over its fellows in cold fusion,
and cowardly, with all its imaginations dispersed,
hides back beneath the blankets…

Alas! All glory gone.
My big toe is nothing but a toe.

© MONYA CLAYTON - 21/8/2006


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