The Actor Sobers Up
It's no accident the other
slowed down time to teach me
to pronounce "mischievous" properly:
On a stage wine built, played teacher
and sister, goddess, killer, all the roles.
Guilt inspires actors with miraculous flair,
exhausts their immunities as if the audience cares.
But empty houses make brilliance droll,
so I leave the unacted sonnets on their knees
lonely as drunks who live in dry counties
and can't drive to lull their disease.
The midsummer show closes, leaves
enough fumes to brave the last block.
Now home, my key won't fit the lock.
The Brooding Mother
Let the noise in your head surface if it can.
The tongue and teeth suffer each syllable
as anger raises the voltage in decibels—
Your boy dirtied your ears, claiming he's a man.
Nothing unusual. . . Your father did it,
husband too. All men fall
into the bed of a slut, led by their balls.
Even your son, that little shit!
Lie. Throw him in a black hole
where the memory of home becomes grace.
Tell him the music he hears is real
and ignoring it shows a weakness of soul.
Let his actions smash him in the face.
Let him feed the whore his daughter's meal.
A Little Light Music
We provide the bass, blend the limit
of our bodies against the sweep of the Mississippi.
A deep hum, too pure a harmony
to keep from the other two of the quartet,
our spouses. A barge parts the river,
muting the scratchy tenor of a naked boy
balanced on the train bridge. He flails his joy
in luminous voice, then dives in cold water
until the phrase breaks into splash.
We decide not to call the police.
I reach to caress the wing of a moth in flight.
She spirals, the conductor gestures the crash
of cymbals, floats to the floor in exhausted release,
too flushed by song to remain upright.