Thursday, December 4, 2014

Michael Keshigian- Three Poems

The wood stove dims
in the darkness after midnight,
cackles of hunger
from its ashen gut
remind the one
who tends the heat
that the cast iron belly
craves another meal.
The metal has cooled to the touch
as the hand that feeds
the smoldering orifice
unlatches the soot stained glass door,
releasing a swirl of combusted breath,
then gropes for the cordwood splinters
to awaken and satiate
the firebox’s heated appetite,
wood of maple and oak
that no longer lingers
with the sweet stimulant of forest freshness,
instead odiferous with moss, mildew,
and spot droppings of curious field mice
once searching for warmth of their own,
except for the kindling,
small scraps of twigs and tinder
upon which the lighted match,
so strident in early morning stillness,
detonates with the aid of dingy, aged newspaper
with folded headlines
that receive a final read
before a bright flame bursts forth.

Those seers of winter’s calamity
that balance upon
the barren, brittle fingers
of snow suited birch trees
make each bleak, barbed twig
more intense
with the season’s significance,
glimmering black
against the white backdrop
they endure the tendency
of Fall’s reduction
toward the enigma of desolation,
and linger self-assured
amid the blanch landscape
and accompanying chill,
prevailing, without explanation,
in doldrums of decay
rather than fly off
as their winged brethren
are inclined to do,
jousting daily
with the naked limbs,
their piercing caw
mocking the lingering snow
that rattles off petrified leaves.

As night absorbs light,
less can be discerned
of the fading formations
once delineated before dusk,
landscape’s true magnitude
and salient features offers
increasingly unreliable testimony
when the eye is questioned
by the brain in gray dimness,
though our familiar environment
tenders more comfort
while the looming gloom
is still engaged,
yet diminishing features
slowly force our minds
to cling to memorized images
in order to provide
a complete picture
the vague outline of shadows
now disguise,
our terrain, our faces,
becoming less identifiable,
bleeding more and more
into this starless night,
and we transform
into two indistinct figures,
resting upon summer chaises
with an ill-defined table between,
hoping the evening ambiguity
will not penetrate beyond the tactile,
though as darkness prevails,
either one of us
might diffidently depart
without alerting the other,
to test the power of night.

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