David Helwig
"Mischance"

On this still October morning, the falling leaves
click, whisper, fall, dropping straight down, lie still.
Wild dogs have torn the soft throat of our singing.
There is hunter and there is prey; the little one,

overtaken by the suddenness of beasts, falls
headlong, bleeding from the shelter of her music
to the hill of ancient stone, blowing hair, pale skin,
soft mouth, and all the ways that she was beautiful.

Among us now a skeletal comedian reigns.
At vision’s edge a finger points, and a figure
vanishes, the universe performing for an audience
of one—hallucinatory fragments flicker

on the borders of the perceived, as when the air
grows animate with the glory of our desire,
our wisdom measuring the span, the eventual,
melting; yet nothing slakes the hunger of the dogs.

While the slash and scream of a motorbike deafens us,
the unstanched fire of the jets bleaches a sky
that blinds us with shining, the lines of melody
modulate, the leaves fall quietly into light.


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