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Awaiting the violet light

that sunrise this gunbarrel day
will usher in, Marsh-
have we not, each of us, been the veritable
stranger hustled into a new lover's silent car,
January morning,
sliding awkwardly across cold,
unyielding vinyl bench seat
at that shamed hour just moments before dawn;
bullet-gray sky backlighting
wanton bare trees, first light thawing
against the glazed & streaked windshield,
the headached squinting out at the river's
road-salt bridges,
that heartless moment when you catch
sight of your own icepick'd reflection
in the unforgiving window glass;

There is a place I have come to know
marked by a sentient mexican elderberry,
blue-bunched & gathered close
by chokecherries that should be picked soon for jelly;
there are times, when a breeze arises off the lake
lapping at the startled pages of my Wm. Butler Yeats,
when migrating waterbirds are nesting down
in the overgrown brush,
preened feathers like fly-way snow
drifted up along the shoreline,
that our river-parkway drives home
rise up from the long-ago, and I struggle
to remember the King David Gardens,
and how empty & without substance
it all seemed then in the company
of mowed lawn & stone markers;

We measure our fullness at night,
much like the lake here that,
in the unimaginative light of day
registers only as
          brittle weed, broken
                        stump, open field..
but by moonlight's confessional
shine,   greater depth & breadth of meltwater revealed
in silvery reflection with each week passing;

So then, a lost childhood song revisited,
caught without note
in the clutched & sobbing throat-
and he will think this not a poem a man would write;
but for now, the only sound this
not even six a.m. a barely audible
radio static announcing metro
traffic, lop-sided playoff scores,
and the forecasted wind-chill for the day.

                          for Marsha Burleson Somers

copyright 1998,   Robt O'Sullivan Schleith



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