By Steve Noyes

I have an appointment with silence.
It is proving difficult to keep: I think
the details have been left behind.
No, I retain them. On a staircase
landing, in my last pants’ pocket,
there’s a small scrap of directions,
but the wind keeps blowing, the drain
overflows with rice, overweening
students take my ears and journey
far into dictionaries with them.
Silence and I will meet though, in a bus,
on the corner, beneath willows,
on an escapade. The apartment, meantime,
leaks tidiness and dust, and wet
footprints, and spatters of grease
replacing my intentions. Foolish to think
I could meet it easily, my hair
combed, feet dry, an ironed shirt.
I learn five words a day, forget three.
Perhaps it is coming. The window
fell out, shattered. I was there
after the noise, my mouth open.

Pas de Deux (Dance for Two)

by Michael Borich

A hairy hand with mouth and eyes,
I would say, and was that scuttling,
that side-stepping jig, the furred upper legs

bent at the joint in demi-plié, was it
scurry or whisk, romance or menace,
this tuft half-hid behind our garden shed door?

Her dragline ensnarls like a gossamer kiss
to my thinking, she’s thinking,
silk and white satin, a tryst in her nest.

How delicately woven an idea: spiraled,
spoked, her hammock of lace spinneret
spun for a passing fancy. And does she prey

in the orb of her brain, waiting, as she does
in shadow, for me, eight supple legs
tensile, poised—she’s the size of a kitten.

Dusk has fallen, motionless. My breathing
is two-four time. She’s a brown fist
with fangs, the jumping genus if provoked.

Deep in her burrow of dark, I wonder
what scintillant glint I am
beyond the net she was mending, beyond

the fading ground between us, fear
and fear and nothing much
to say or do but gingerly back away.

(* demi-plié – a ballet dance position)


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