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Morning Song

by Knute Skinner

One night frost lay heavy
on the corners of the pane,
and all night he sat asking
what might come his way again.

But only dampness circled
through the bleak, empty air,
and only darkness settled
down on the waiting chair.

That night he looked for morning
to knock upon his door,
pass with pretty footsteps
over a brightening floor,

and ease into his two arms,
a welcome visitor.

But morning came so thinly
she scarcely seemed to dawn.
She rode a threadbare horse
slowly over the lawn.

Afoot, she passed his threshold
and crept upon his breast.
Her shawl slid from her shoulders,
leaving her throat undressed.

He bent his head to kiss her
and saw below her chin
pus from an open ulcer
leaking down her skin,

and then his lips were locked tight
to her naked, bony grin.


Taken from ‘Nothing is Ever What it Seems’ (1994), pages 85-86.

Knute Skinner