and the moon slowly eaten from the bottom up.
a radio playing La Cathédral Engloutie.
Soon the moon is gone,
brownish shadow snuffed,
time. Half-burned candle flickering
on the table,
finger of merlot left in the glass.
secret gathers in the trees, whispers
a trail of rumors
the window chimes;
there is light again,
with its sliver of longing.
The old jazz drummer's hands pop and jerk
on the pew—
badda, be bop,
bah dah, badda, be bop…
His head lolls, canted as an egret preening
in the dark
orange minute before sunrise.
A girl steps through the door
and twirls, her shirt sparking with light.
Her younger sister, betrayed by beauty,
covers her mouth,
and the long war between them stalls.
A wolf spider rappels from the railing
of a paddleboat steamer on a
Soon it will begin the task of assembling a
The sky is angry and yellow.
The transistor radio crackles, jazz
flits in and out.
"Stay tuned," a thin voice says,
and the lights flicker
and die. Outside, the wind raises its hackles.
Hail tattoos the window.
The little girl, huddling with hands over ears,
hears her blood whoosh
like the rinse-cycle of a washing machine.
Twenty years later she will remember this night,
while laundering clothes in graduate school.
There is a rhythm in our days.
This is what we learn after we have been cut
and cut again.
When you have reached the edge of your endurance,
stop the car. Listen
to the hot engine tick, the blood rush of cars on the road.
Lift your face as you did when you were young
and running was everything.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Mueske