Amity After the Fire


My muse returned from war, her swollen stumps
Were wrapped in rags and paper as she pumped
Her arms and pushed her yellow skateboard down
The sidewalk. Amity is back in town
And living in my basement now. I hear
Her crying softly every night–I’m near
Exhaustion, with my inspiration stuck
For benefits despite her service. Luck

Would have it, sleep is not among her needs.
There’s constant feeding, though, and when she bleeds—
it happens intermittently–my heart
contracts and ices up. I have to start
compression on the remnant of her thigh.
She gently stokes my hair, and then a sigh
I never heard back in her teasing days
Accompanies the unfamiliar gaze

From eyes that used to tell me something strange.
They’ve lost their mystery. As I arrange
A knee-high desk for Amity, prepared
to take dictation, I am made aware
She’s crossed a line. I used to chase her form,
Those perfect thighs, her arms and hair would storm
Into my life and leave me nights of sweet
Fulfillment or frustration. God, her feet,

The perpetrators of the vixen’s trick
Of disappearing for a week–a stick,
Now, and that slab on wheels. I couldn’t touch
Her then, yet here I dress her wounds. So much
Has changed since Amity embedded with
The wind– “Before the Fire!” her shibboleth.
It echoed to my soul, the soul that longed
To lay with Amity, the one so wronged

And yet rewarded. Now, I want to sleep.
But I’m on call, her needs are dire, and deep
Into the night my ministrations plait
A prelude to the work that she says fate
Prefigured. “Canto I,” her voice, without
Its old élan, surprises through a bout
Of smoker’s cough and red encoded warning,
“Engines That You Heard on Tuesday Morning.”

Painting by Niko Angelis

2 Responses to “Amity After the Fire”

  1. Pearl Says:

    Congrats Rick.

  2. Rick Says:

    Thanks Pearl!

    [I’m getting congratted, folks, ’cause this poem won a contest at Mipo Cafe Cafe, a poets’ group Pearl and I belong to. I get: The Oxford Book of American Poetry. It’s packed with “formalist” verse!]

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