The Stopping Hand

How the dark stains the shadow, some shapeless foolery, some cool corner we didn’t see where the dust landed like tiny flocks of pigeons, roosting for the duration, quills settled in unruffled silence where no wind flew, no hawk dove, where the child’s hand stopped – motionless – waiting?

Some stasis within the play — there was no reason, no room for doubt the day clarity came blinding its way across the sea and through the big windows that had asked for distance. The Easter she lay in bed, in what had been the living room, two girls struggling through viola notes, the weeping under the breath and the longing for her to be upright, cooking, walking – not this, not this bed-smile, the I-can’t, the never-no-more wispiness of the lived life, the thin papery skin bruised by what’s simple, and hurt by mereness – not this.

And more than one dreamed of the cardinal that night, scarlet, clear, loud – more than one heaved long breaths into their pillow, filling feathers with hot confusion and a swirl – more than one walked into the cicada night, the walled trees dark above, stepping onto sharp grass, swimming for light – the green pool dry, echoing with small leaves and the twigs blown by the last storm. We could float above the banks of the St. John’s River, the city’s lights oddly quiet far across the shore – invisible masks smoking, walking to the bus, unfamiliar conversations struck on the corner, taxi horn honking twice outside an apartment, flavors of chicken, the barbeque and the street lights on 14th – fingering pocket change, slick shoes tapping pavement, walking away – sound fading – back across the river – ears covered by the shocked night sounds –

and hushing, shushing, held gently by mercy and memory, stepping across the old threshold onto oak-warm creaking floors – he reaches for the one lamp burning, shuts it and sleeps.

About David

Prone to musing and to being prone. Father to two, writer, engineer.
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