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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

art by Phyllis Bertoni Krosinsky
by Phyllis Bertoni Krosinsky

(Click image for larger view)

To Orpheus
By Bertha Rogers

The electronic clock chirps.
The sun, summoned, enters, broadcasts morning.
Cats shatter dishes in the kitchen;
plates cleave heavy air, silver sluices after.
Hide your face, breathe back slumber.
Say
            I will not
            not this hour
            this time
            I will remain
            indistinct
            dream disguised

Just before daybreak we go slack,
less permanent than the bird,
the cat’s curled claw; spectral dwellers
in rooms that, decorated to suit,
survive occupants.

Chairs and tables, owned goods,
don’t permit escape, their legs and hard arms.
Books lock thought, they do not release.
Walls intimate safety
(note how exact, how precisely joints align)
but outside trees war against corners,
branches vex windowpanes.

We arrive by subtraction,
by stages move to diminished quarters.
Companions defy tenure.

Think of all that cannot be said,
heart against teeth. Anticipate descent,
the voice that does not falter:

            I am just ahead of you,
            I prepare
            the narrowest room.


Previously published in the Speaking the Words Anthology

See Bertha Rogers' poetry and art at http://www.bertharogers.com