Nose

Jee Leong Koh

 

(from "The Book of the Body")

The nose is the clown of the body.
In the center of the ring of the face
the nose runs on the spot, tickles, blows his cracked cornet,
and turns an embarrassing tint of red.

If from very high up, say, a trapeze platform,
you look down on the ringmaster's head, his nose sticks out
like a knee,
not anything like the capable hand

of an elephant,
nor the quivering compass-needle of the lion
scenting blood bounding, bounding away.
The nose twitches in honor of its shrew-like ancestor instead;

and when the body gets too big for his breeches,
the nose snorts at his top hat,
punches the head backwards, and
sneezes.

Jee Leong Koh is the author of Payday Loans (Poets Wear Prada Press). His poem "Brother" was selected by Natasha Trethewey for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology (University of Virginia Press). Other poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, The Ledge Magazine, and Mimesis (UK). His second book, Equal to the Earth, is forthcoming from Poets Wear Prada Press in 2009. Read his blog.