The Muse in the Streetlamp by Lisa Folkmire

Posted: February 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

For the first time, we have ears as well as eyes on the heavens.

The night I said I love
you and then I took it back
I pulled the words from the air between us.
A spool as smooth as ribbon slipped back down my throat
until I wanted to choke them up again–
I swear I heard you laugh
as you took the last sip of whiskey
The moonlight faltered as the words
tangled back around my ribs.
I never meant to leave them there
God, I hope that whiskey felt right against your lips.

Behind the wires that twist and curve in electrocution
sits a young man devoid of substance, water, air,
and all we can see of him is the color of his clothing
his missing patches of hair
the location of his room. He fades
into the cinderblocks around him.
A burial wall bordered by electric caution,
A list of facts printed in the paper
as though he never drew a picture
to hang on his mother’s fridge.

Two black holes circle each other
competing carousels waltzing until
collision, a spread of energy,
Space time distortion.

After ordering a whiskey, neat,
you watch the beams stretch over the golden still,
your fingers spanning to the edges of the glass.
Listen to the night, how it cries tender over the streetlamps.
Somebody smudged each one with his thumb,
there is the hopeful glow of holiness within their blur.

How can I read the syntax of an angel’s wings? Can I swirl
my fingers around their haloes, like the lips
of a rocks glass? I have painted their songs across
my papers and yet I can only write in a minor key.
I clean my feet but my heels remain
dry, black from the Earth beneath them. “This
is my sin,” I hear them whisper.
I was never warned about their voices.

The wave fades to a whisper
but the astronomers continue to listen,
Arms of mirrors turning light to noise.

I dreamt last night that I played my horn next to Gabriel
and when we ended my breath kept circling
As if it were swallowed into his infinity of
music which fell silent to my ears when
all I wanted was to dance along.
But Gabriel, who had left his trumpet behind
continued to tap his foot to the meter.

I will only believe in one fallacy at a time,
Afraid of truth breaking down into disappointment:
My grandfather’s hauntings, or
a muse who falls in love with her painter.
For the short infinity of my past,
I have only found reason to search for faeries,
Holding their soft glow within my eyesight.

A million miles away, the gravity of Earth
and sun cancel each other: a silent meadow
carrying platinum, waiting.

Now when I imagine you
sipping tea behind your covers,
I feel the lemon and ginseng seep
into my own tongue, tightening the ribbon
A double knot around my ribs

And the old black dog
you always cradled
still sleeps outside
the bathroom door even
though we buried him behind
the garage.

We have grown apart
further than the first time the moonlight
faltered against our night.
The world buzzes with electricity, forgotten art,
A collection of myths we have yet to sift through.

A cease in ringings, collapse in space
and two black holes, swallowing each other,
The hushing of an end.

My skin now shines, gut rushing with the light
spilling into the street and I feel the bite
of my second glass. Watch me walk. Follow me home.
I have the confidence of the moon tonight.

*Quote from New York Times article, “Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory” by Dennis Overbye
______________________________________
Lisa Folkmire is a poet from Warren, Michigan. She is currently an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts with an emphasis in poetry. Her work has appeared in See Spot Run and Heron Tree literary arts journals, The Pine River Anthology, as well as Rat’s Ass Review.

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