June 2008 / Volume Eight / Issue Two
Maurice Oliver
The “Standby Ticket” Sonnet

Start with a fish hook stuck in your lip. A
lunar eclipse at dawn. Blood on the dance
floor. A queen’s handbag. Minty toothpaste.
Gauze bandages. Add the oldest building in
Oxford. Crows feet. A cleft chin. Smudges on
the tapestry. Smokehouses. Cardboard boxes.
An orange nylon jacket knotted on the pier.
Carnival rides. Cotton candy. Flypaper lit with
a zippo. Ether. Lemonade. Artichoke or parsnip?
A leaky burlap sack of eels. No sundial. No
suitcase. No sushi. No difference. Just make
sure all the cabins have linoleum floors.