Rustin Larson, "Circle of Fifths"

The holy abracadabra of this evening,

the wind blowing over the house,

prying the gutters from the edge

of the roof, the sky has subtracted

itself of even starlight, and the police

sirens chase their victims over the frozen

puddles and sewer grates.

I was fifteen and numb and floating

Out of my body, and I was forty-seven

And my body was numb and I was

Following it down a staircase

Like the owner of some unpredictable beast.

Even today, as I walked with Caroline

To buy avocados at the market,

I saw the flat horizon and felt so keenly

The soil I could at any instant return to,

Me, my body, my lumbering animal,

Growling and hungry, so animated

And vulnerable. I played my guitar

Just moments ago, a chord progression,

A circle of fifths, swirling and phased

Through an amplifier: Hey, Joe! Where

You gonna go? I didn’t sing it,

But I asked that question with the strings.

I held my guitar like a paddle. I rowed

Into the direction. It kept repeating

Itself. It didn’t matter if I knew where I was going.

Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, and Poetry East. His collections include The Wine-Dark House, Crazy Star (selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005), Bum Cantos, Winter Jazz, & The Collected Discography of Morning, winner of the 2013 Blue Light Book Award, and The Philosopher Savant.

Photo: Pixabay.