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by Knute Skinner

Last night the earth lay naked
at a whistle stop in space
and the cold kiss of the aether
spread frost upon its face

and the whitefish and the whippet
in a bleak, imposing pause
felt a frozen diatonic
in their frozen scales and paws

and the sleeper in the bedroom
with his face toward the wall
saw there wasn’t any reason
to expect a morning call

saw that nothing was the matter
of matter after all.

But when sunshine punched its timecard
and illumined north and south
then the dog brought in the paper
with headlines in its mouth

and the sleeper, now awakened
to a frisky whirligig,
saw the players through the window
with their raiment and their rig

saw the boxer and the beauty
choose their places in the scene
saw the gymnast’s diarthrosis
perform upon the green

and once more there were voices
on the answering machine.


Taken from ‘Nothing is Ever What it Seems’ (1994), pages 87-88.

Knute Skinner

Black Smoke