The Nalin Clog Carpenter, by Karen Downs-Barton

Hewn from sandalwood logs, balsam-scented,
your stately hammam slippers form letter
Kha’s; tack sighs beneath the sole of fettered
feet. Curved prows cleave deliquescent sudded

spume of captive dreams sloughed on salted wash-
tides as you navigate marbled oceans.
Carved aromatic woods, warm to the touch,
fashion decks like outstretched palms incised with

tendril poems in calligraphic script
imprints temporary tattoos between us.
My rewards are thoughts of pliant skin pressed
in hidden caresses, sweat bathed, silvered

with estuaries under silk pestemal
worn as you perform bathing rituals.

Cracks between, by Karen Downs-Barton

Adjoining tables
The French temptress laughs, smokes, flirts.
My wife’s eyes burn.

it was / in-between / the cracks that / cracks started / appearing // fissures between / one thing / and / another // but // all the same / thing // so many days / and holidays / that / blended // unless differences were / highlighted // but then / perhaps / they

were just / differences / to others / or my / in / differences // the end / less / ness

I learned to / take / in small doses / or / not at all // it ended / in the almost / finality / of wrists / double underlined // freedom //

New convertible.
Skirt flutters, hair ruffles. Smile.
City commando.