Thursday, December 1, 2011


Corner Bookstore

Is it the sound of my exhaled breath releasing
me from my leather chair, dry thumb
plinking tines on a plastic comb or
the pattern of steps I take looking for
my shoes, dance of a drone

bee giving up coordinates to apple blossoms,
that alerts the dog to a walk before
I can lift the chain from the nail, dead
giveaway sound of beads poured
into a metal bowl calling you

into the kitchen, drawing you outside
behind me, collar turned up against
light rain, jacket flapping open to thin
wind rushing April along when she would
rather wait for us by the side

door, a quick break from the march to
May. Outbound leg a true course
down the south side of the street past the
gravity of the park tugging the dog to fetch
ball free of the leash. Chance for honest

work, to hone her craft, lost now to the
uncertainties of left or right, stop or go,
here or there, fast or slow and silence in the
vacuum between us. Ears pricked to scratchy
short-wave maydays only she can hear

spiraling overhead, gift and burden of
a beast who can sense impending
earthquake while the rest of us laugh and head
for the second floor. Past the old fire alarm
relay station, slate and stone and

wavy glass anchored, enduring
time passing over, a torrent of spring melt
boiling against scoured banks, leaving behind
sluggish pools, echoes of fast, rising water
carrying some, drowning others.

Up the easy slope into town the way hurtling
bowling balls return, slow, emerging
from darkness with a muffled knock against
Main Streets’ acceleration, looped and seamless.
We hedge against the prevailing

pace with the rhythm of Budwigs’
brushes under Guarldi’s piano.
The bookstore floats above Sixth and
Main, stern of a Cunard liner at midnight
anchor, plate riveted to rib, bleeding

light, ready to sail. We stand dwarfed on
the dock, faces lit winter moons,
wondering whether to wave bon voyage
or board to lean on the rail, fingers
spliced, uncertain seas ahead.

David Hardin
January, 2002

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