Three Moral Ladies to the sporting house went. They blessed the red lantern above often-swung door. Blessed parlor covered all over in purple & pall.
Blessed businessmen & men of leisure, chewing free lunch amid oncogenic clouds – Virginia tobacco, boozy swigs. To make quarry, daughters of lesser men.
A switch of willow did each Lady possess: One for Yesterday, that mislaid map, country from which all are exiled.
For Tomorrow unborn, a second switch hid beneath her Lady’s heavy shawl, that none but she might know, whether it be green or dead.
That third switch, a scourge wielded in tireless fist by Lady Today.
Upturned a cart, gin & goblets, struck down lunch tray sent pickled eggs & seedless rye to skin beetle consumed, foot-worn oriental.
Stung men’s knuckles, wounded eyes. Sniffed out Yesterday’s cut flowers, lifeless yet standing in scummy water.
Upstairs to stalk bleach fumed halls, Lady Today knocked off their hooks, rude pictures.
The landlady charged: Stay your brutish hand, Lady Today!
The switch broke, fell at her un-stockinged feet. Plain face in gilded mirror, obliterated. Forgot her name & was no more.
Jason O’Toole is an Andover, MA based poet and author of two collections published by The Red Salon, Spear of Stars (2018) and Soulless Heavens (2019) which contains the Rhysling Award nominated poem “Samsara.” Involved in the underground music scene for over thirty years, he collaborates with Providence based composer-musician Alec K. Redfearn and Slovakian neo-classicist, Herr Lounge Corps. Current poems may be found at Avatar Review, The Scrib Arts Journal, The Wild Word, and Heroin Love Songs. Visit his website and Amazon author page.