Jean Valentine

(27 April 1934 / Chicago, Ill)

Dream Barker


We met for supper in your flat-bottomed boat.
I got there first: in a white dress: I remember
Wondering if you'd come. Then you shot over the bank,
A Virgilian Nigger Jim, and poled us off
To a little sea-food barker's cave you knew.

What'll you have? you said. Eels hung down,
Bamboozled claws hung up from the crackling weeds.
The light was all behind us. To one side
In a dish of ice was a shell shaped like a sand-dollar
But worked with Byzantine blue and gold. What's that?

Well, I've never seen it before, you said,
And I don't know how it tastes.
Oh well, said I, if it's bad,
I'm not too hungry, are you? We'd have the shell...
I know just how you feel, you said.

And asked for it; we held out our hands.
Six Dollars! barked the barker, For This Beauty!
We fell down laughing in your flat-bottomed boat, .

And then I woke up: in a white dress:
Dry as a bone on dry land, Jim,
Bone dry, old, in a dry land, Jim, my Jim. .

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Steve Brumfield (8/4/2007 4:09:00 PM)

    This is a good poem to recite to a potential lover over a quiet dinner for two...a seafood dinner of course...wish it was dated. (Report) Reply

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