Pantoum, with Approaching Storm

In lieu of church bells, traffic on the avenue.
Thunder from a storm already almost here.
On the corner, the man with the harmonica says,
Stick around, it’ll change; it always does.

Thunder’s the voice of the storm already almost here.
Hasn’t it relented, isn’t it seven years after your death?
Stick around; there are things that never seem to change.
I lay fruit on a plate, summon your spirit with soup in a cup—

Seven years after your death: what little I know hasn’t changed.
I hear someone ask: Does the wind have the smell of salt from the sea?
Alone, I arrange wheels of citrus and water the broth with tears—
In the end, has sacrifice mattered? what safeguards will keep?

Crush a handful of grass, and still you smell the salt from the sea.
How long can I breathe through various instruments,
that plaintive tune whose other name is sacrifice? Each note’s
the rattle of a hollow limb, the gash of church bells above the avenue.


In response to Morning Porch and small stone (97).

One Reply to “Pantoum, with Approaching Storm”


    It will not cease, nor will the smell of grass
    supplant the scent of brine from this sea,
    this angst from a sacrifice that was not worth it.
    But I must keep your plate on your side, keep vigil.

    You will come home, even as a hint of a shadow.
    I will always keep your side of the bed warm
    however cold you left it. Come in from the storm.
    It will soon be over before you know it. I know.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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