double pitched air brakes
metal: key chain, dog tags
a laugh’s bubble envelope
You lay on your back and the air of browning onions watered your tongue. You wanted to rise again. Let them bring it to you.
stutter bicycle wheel
furnace’s bass whisper
cicada’s searchlight rasp
Beware, you are slipping from your sack. Your skin brushes the sheet. Hair fringes at the nape. Your sinking spine mattress-cradled. Do not long for this again.
the vacancy after a motor
the perking doorbell
flat dropped footsteps
eardrum’s private mosquito
The more slowly you looked, the more bees were in the clover. A fly arrived to rest at your page. Please do not hold memory past its time.
tan rustle of held tissues
your name in their mouths
follows the pianist and string quartet
some few steps behind
as they flow from a gilded-trim door.
The featured five spread for their first bow:
she pauses behind the raised piano lid.
She is the pianist’s third hand. She does not
have a name. She is the musician
who watches, soundless. Riveted to the staves
as the players are, her fingertips are moist,
precise. Black dress and ponytail
nearly hide her, the music’s sixth heart.
Edged at her chair, she’s a raptor
alert for black marks hurtling
to crash at each bottom right corner.
In presto tempo, as the pianist’s fingers
fall in cataracts, she rises to talon
every minute’s multiple sharp strikes.
Piano and strings stand to face
the audience that stands to thrash the air.
She waits on the chair, eyes still on her target.
Last through the gilded door, she carries
from stage her willed silence at the center of sound.
Without her, there’s nothing to applaud.