“Defeated Philo” by Mary Beth Asaro

His fantasies of auburn
places near cracked mirrors
turn him on like cackling ice,
popping silence among flaming
people, consoling blue fleas
from strays biting the air mockingly.

He sighs at mocking-
birds moaning to auburn
lovers, flexing, then fleeing
from lakes mirroring
a sun surrendering to a flame
of clouds and a sky of ice.

He could smash the ice
between the giggling, whose sex mocks
his satisfaction. Passionate flames
engulf undesirable smirks at auburn
women smacking their lips at mirrors
while popping his pickup lines like a flea.

He can no longer flee
from uptown women with icy
words to match their revolving mirrors.
Strong fragrances mock
his weak cologne while auburn
eyes spit at his extinguished flame.

There is no old flame
who can soothe his flea-
bitten heart. An auburn
kiss could melt away the icy
bridge of past mocking-
birds pecking at flashy mirrors.

He gazes at the round mirror,
mimicking feminine tones with icy
eyes while reliving past mocks
against miniature, invisible fleas
He looks back in an ice
stance, brooding over auburn.

He cringes at auburn images in mirrors,
leaving icy flames
in his fleeing heart as they mock him.