Two Poems by Barbara Foster

Carmen Miranda Museum

I've puzzled over Mona Lisa's
Enigmatic smile in the Louvre
Rooted for Greeks against centaurs
At war on Elgin's marbles
The world's greatest museums
Fed my intellect
But my fantasy starved
Till I flew to Rio
And found the Samba Queen
Live again in glorious
Shiny as eyes of onyx

Within a plastic rotunda
The Brazilian bombshell
Slithers her seductive hips
Hot as "sunny Costa Rica
Where they say quee-pee-pia!"
The tropical typhoon impaled
Lovers on her lashes
Her faux gems, fruity, upswept
Dazzled the gray 50's
Enshrined among pharaonic
Carmen's spirit soars
            above carnaval.

Sybaritic Summer
Last summer's flowered dresses
Wilt in my closet
Lingering scents of sweet pea,
Assault my nostrils
"Wear me strolling giddy in
Sigh caressable cottons
From dark recesses
Heat beating on lobster red
Sweats away winter doldrums.

"Remove my mothballs,
            I'm smothering"
Cry scoop backs, strapless, sexy
Sandals peeking out of plastic
Begin to shuffle
Tempting painted toes
To wriggle into them
Prisoner feet aired again
Clamor:  "Massage me in velvet

Hot, hottest, boiling colors
Oranges, reds, torpid purple
Hues that glow in the dark
like fireflies
Arouse my Mediterranean lust
Oh, Apollo, Sun God
From your fiery chariot
Drink in my scents
Nuzzle my bare skin
Singe me with your kiss
Intense as this bloom bedazzled

Barbara Foster is an Associate Professor in the Library Department of Hunter College.  She is co-author of "The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel" (Overlook Press, 1998).  She has published in Travel and Leisure, North Dakota Quarterly, Jewish Quarterly and Journal of the West.  Her poems have appeared in Central Park, High Plains Literary Review, The Feminist Connection, The Caribbean Writer, Creative Woman, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Australia, Parnassus.  Contact her as

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