Venice, Italy seen from bridge, with boats, gondolas and buildings overlooking canal

Warrior Nose

Carnevale in Venice —
the perfect time to swap
my own nose for another.

Made of obscenely smooth leather
the mask is redolent of the raw beast,
its pungency overwhelming
my own insignificant organ.

This, this is a nose
you can ride on
like a Brahman bull,
a nose you can slide down

to an audacious hook,
then a gentle bump
before ending in a lethal point,
a nose that transforms into a beak
for tearing skin off the soul,

threaded with strong bone
no sword can slice through,
evil humped
like the back of a witch.

No pert button-nose this,
no tiny, turned-up nose,
no pug nose, this.

This is a warrior nose

appearing suddenly
around a corner to confront
my enemies, knowing
I am protected by the armor
of this temporary appendage.