The Rose and the Thorn

from the other room the faint voice of some newsman
was speculating on the outcome of the surge in Iraq

Grace twirled her spoon in the hot coffee and watched
as the cream spiraled the drink into a muddy brown

outside the night sky was crisp, the snow bright
and she remembered the lines from the Guthrie song

'and the town was lit up by a cold winter moon'
this town had known tragedies far worse than her own

in the freezer wrapped in an old Mining Gazette
were the flowers Ben had given her on their first date

they had walked hand in hand down Fifth Street to
the Rose and Thorn where he had bought her carnations

the shop had gone the way of their love and was closed,
for sale, an empty womb waiting for something unknown

he had later written her name with a Sharpie pen a wooden
bleacher in the football field and put a heart around it

she had allowed her heart to be bound up like that
but words are written like mist and soon blow away

his hands, she smiled to remember, his hands the first time
they had touched her breasts, the first time they explored

so soft, like the snow that piled around the old Chevy
in the driveway, had soon become unyielding as marble

if life is a river you never step into twice then she knew
she was still there, knee deep, with cold coffee in her cup

listening to sun ra

cd playing in the computer
as i write
i think of his words
'there is a land
whose being is almost unimaginable to the
human mind.'
and think
the land where the words come from
where the music comes from

i can see sun on the stage
his purple robe twirling around him
the trumpet players doing somersaults
across the wooden stage
at the detroit opera house
and the music
that unimaginable music
filling the air
becoming solid
sound and feeling

there is a land
and ' there is no need to describe its splendor'
so i'll shut up
and listen
and become

Tom Blessing writes in an old copper mining town in Michigan's Upper
Peninsula. Occasionally his press, Tandava Poetry Press, publishes
quickzines and chapbooks.

2008 Underground Voices