Chamber Music

— after viewing Ingmar Bergman’s film trilogy

1. Through a Glass Darkly

Is it foolish
to think God
a spider?

a spun moment,
perfect in its
architecture of waiting?
in its raw edge of abandon?

The gull cries
a sudden emptiness
of sea lapping stone.

Wind in heavy grass –
Is that what I carry?

What I carry, I forgive,
what I forgive, I touch
or name or pity

like the fields
soaked with rain,
like voices inside
my mouth, like a love
with no bowl
for keeping.

2. Winter Light

Your body, like river-rush
in late November,
craves the early summer.

Our eyes refuse us nothing.

The fence and sky,
tough wings of darkness
expect a storm,
will not be moved.

Sheets thrown back.
The hard gossip we surrender to,
coughed hallelujahs, and guilt
to feed us.

Through a closed window at dusk,
I watch wind jar the hazel tree
by the porch, but hear nothing.

3. The Silence

I've no idea where I am.
There’s no one to call,
and if there were,
I'd have nothing to tell.

War rumbles through the city
and on the rails.
All the faces are the same.
They speak in tongues, they wear fear
on their shoulders.

There’s no one –
But you know this already.

The body I touch is no longer mine.

I spend my time changing words –
translation in a cloud of smoke.
The piano is Bach, Goldberg Variations.

This hotel, with its hint of plush,
massive, severe, is mostly empty.
In the corridor, a passing troupe of dwarfs,
the last one in death mask,
is my pretense for loneliness.

Under my window, a scrawny horse
whose ribs could spell my name
pulls at a wagon, loaded with junk
to sell, over the narrow, dirty street,
from one lost intent to the next.

Sam Rasnake's work has appeared recently in MiPOesias, Pebble Lake Review, Poetry Midwest, Siren, Snow Monkey, Ecotone: Reimagining Place, and From East to West. He is the author of two collections, Religions of the Blood (Pudding House) and Necessary Motions (Sow’s Ear Press), and also edits Blue Fifth Review, an online poetry journal. (bluefifth@lycos.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761