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Still Life With Mouse Torso and Miniature Grand Piano

by Sandra Meek

  • Hawk-dropped, the body appears first
  • as abrasion, a bruising of the concrete drive
  • slight as noon’s shadow, as Icarus’s falling
  • through flame and spectacle to the margin
  • Breughel foregrounded in a sea
  • of emerald oil.
    1. At ten, I taught myself to see
  • only distance; I believed the world scaled
  • far enough down might narrow
  • toward grace, the human figured too
  • outsized to enter. Miniature library, kitchen,
  • music room: each weekend I’d bevel, and stain,
  • and glue: the piano
  • the finale, dark walnut gloss spanning my hand, lid extended
  • like a broken wing—
    1. More glissando
  • than fester, the torso unzips
  • to an ivory question, spine
  • levitating free
  • of its shock of slate fur.
    1. After a week, barely a gray smudge
  • mars the driveway’s grainy canvas.
    1. However I had imagined my life
  • was elaborate as lace, and woven
  • mostly of air.
  • No spoil; only vacancy.
  • Height, and length, and bend, all curl
  • to a tiny shepherd’s hook, nearing
  • erasure, insects devouring
    1. distance, what seemed
  • sanctuary, what let God
  • forget us, perhaps, though most
  • drought-driven days I just believe in heaven
  • eternally empty. Cloudless
  • from here, though the weather
    1. says rain, an illuminated map
  • glossing a small shadow’s gathering
  • away from a coast
  • saw-toothed with fishing villages
    1. beneath the radar
  • homing in on the storm far from earth’s shudder
  • at fault line, the swell
  • first merely gentling the farthest-out boats
  • forty-three minutes will surge
  • to harbor wave, the bone-white land
  • going under.

Note: “Harbor wave” is the literal English translation of tsunami.

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