Compline, David Appelbaum

Bone ChillingBone Chilling. Memphis. 2014. Nosey (photo credit: Karen B. Golightly)





There the barley-breath of sleep,
on your nightstand, a bower of white peonies waits,
beside a pitcher, a dish of almonds.

There would be work clothes strewn
beside the bed, beside an open book
a window all reflection as I look out
to the lone buoy that marks the bay
a man shadow, slack, bending to retrieve
some article lost in night flight.

There would be the murmur in my ear
the rustle of the days there before
the sounding reckons depth in fathoms
for passage safe in the stone barge.

There would be an incidental hush
after coal embers crash through the grate
while on the far side of the bed
you roll languidly into the empty place
one leg searches for cool air
smooth sea glass rubs against linen.

Would there then be the image beside
of one who I think stood without intent
to watch dawn come like a stiffened sail
takes wind to find the harbor home?

David Appelbaum

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