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).

1 Comment


    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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