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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Glenn G. Coats

Music Circus

His voice is worn. It is the scrape of a file, a rasp—the back and forth of a bow saw, the bird-like back and forth call of fieldworkers, the cry of loss when flood waters reach above shoulders, the whisper and hush of prayers that mingle in the dark of crowded rooms, the scuff of bare feet on dirt floors and the shouts of pain when insects bite down the spine. His voice is the steady hum of loneliness.

The winds are kicking up and the tent begins to sway. Ghosts push and pull at the canvas. His hand strums the guitar faster and faster as the rain falls down hard. It bursts from a hole and pours down over him. He rises from his chair and turns his palms to catch the water as if the moment is meant to be.

steam rises
from her shoulders
river chill