After-music: Poems by Conrad Hilberry

By Conrad Hilberry

After-Music is a diverse and wealthy number of meditations on either the private and common. one of several fascinating locations, humans, and occasions that Hilberry brings to lifestyles in those poems are observing manatees in a Florida canal, a reluctant priest blessing the animals in Mexico, a rushed and sullen checkout woman within the grocery store, and Day of the useless skeletons that shape a mariachi band. even if a few of the poems are formal in sonnets, quatrains, and tetrameter many of the poems are unfastened verse, making them available and relaxing analyzing.

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Sample text

We wind our fiber through the latticework of their grand art, hoping someone may hear the muscled twist of grief that’s seasoned in a narrow tube, the hollow music of a long-held breath. Egg You pass me from palm to palm, run your eye along my effortless asymmetry. You handle me, knowing my chalky curves were turned on a lathe of light. Palm to palm. Before you make the next move, do I remind you of another yolk wrapped in fragile bone, shapely, golden in the center? Do you recall how easily a form you held can crack and spill, how absolute the absence?

The cabin settles into sumac and the dog sleeps. Another clue might roll its eyes or lean a little toward the camera. Not me. I’m just a slash in old paint. If homicide shows up, I’ll drape a spider web across my loin. But I’ll be here, the child of rage, your child. Touch my deep diagonal, leftover lightning. Follow my falling line into the larger dark. Even the bitterest rain can sink into sand, collect in the crevasses of rock, and lose itself in the river’s lurch and surge and pause. 39 40 Pas senger-side Mirror I glance over my shoulder, a plainclothesman letting you know what’s lurking.

You might think the boys in some back room would honor me when they deal out their pairs and flushes. I could suggest a ritual: whenever a hand goes straight, they might think of me, the unbent iron. They might take off their hats. No chance. I’m dust and ashes. Rust. If I could find my heart I’d pierce it, run it through. 37 38 Clue Toffee with tooth marks, the petal of hibiscus that never blooms this far north, a scrap of toenail, those are my cousins. I’m the left-handed slash here on your kitchen door, the stroke that missed, before you sank the knife and caught your breath there at the sink, your blouse splattered with good riddance.

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