Issue Forty-Three - Winter 2024


by Rick Kuenning

I think the days are gone when I do not
Remember my death, the end, days the
Sun lifted me from my sleep, carried me
Into the comfortable, heedless fate of each
Joyful day—a meal, the daily labor, rest,
An hour with you, with friends, children,
The uplifting virtue of an uncounted life,
Numberless blossoms, the scent of rain,
As sweet as the unearned taste of honey.

There are too many portents.

A nameless, dazzling star beckons
Each night in the purple twilight.
A silent, graceful, winged shadow
Crosses mine as I labor up a small hill.
A dead tree. Black-robed crows gather,
An inscrutable, dark-eyed convocation,
Assembled to celebrate an old theology.

This house is not a secure redoubt.
The walls are breached, and I hear the
Scrambling rhythm of my rebuilt heart.
A small engine powers my tenuous breath,
Redirects blood deep in my broken chest,
Ferrying my life across makeshift portages.
A regional trade of tiny cell packets barters
Mortality, the bound memories of a body,
Once sufficient for itself, now emerged on
A foreshortened stage, holding a redacted
Script invoking a dialogue of inspired dust,
A matinee in which despair plays against
The exhalation of each sweet moment,
The fugitive scansion of this last act.


Copyright Kuenning 2024