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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Penny Harter


twilight rain –
sheltered in the trees
a flock of crows

The mute performance on the sidewalk across the street is a dance – some coming, some going, cheeks touching, a few kisses, and then the patting of shoulders, the careful hugs among women in black dresses, men in black pants, their suit jackets off, white shirts shining in this late September heat.

drumbeats on the wind –
the high school marching band
practicing again

I wonder what occasion fuels this ceremony on a sunlit afternoon – and then I remember the elderly woman who used to weed her flower beds, bending to tear out vines and messy volunteers, sometimes pausing to wipe sweat from her forehead with a gardening glove.

open window –
faint crying of the baby
with a heart defect

Last night I almost killed a moth, kicked at the thing that grazed my ankles until it rose to light on the sill – how fragile its powdered paisley wings, its one remaining antenna. I helped it out the window where I must go now, taking flight above that pantomime, my shining head thrown back, my harsh voice scraping a dirge.

traffic stopped –
a long chain of headlights
enters the graveyard