Nancy Kuhl

December 1

Half-heard words are  barefoot  boys,
picking  their  way  through the  alley
to  the  corner of King and Highland.
They  are  careless,  stumbling,  gone
into the  dark.  Windows,  if  you  let
them,  slink off  to  where   the  stone
drive   meets  the  road.  They   wear
whatever  light they can grab hold of.
A  habit  of    squinting   against    the
glare, separating shape from  shadow,
has     resulted    in     this    argument,
this shrewd-hearted room. Years from
here  I   burnt    my    tongue   sipping
coffee   on  a   brick   porch  and   the
screen  door slapped shut behind you.
The clock's silver hands are folded  in
exasperation    or   appeal     and    the
neighborhood  is suddenly  quiet. Our
house is only  edges and  angles;  it is
the crook  of an arm,  the  joint where
bone  meets  bone. The  door  swings
open at even the slightest knock.  My
hands  fit  over  the  day  like  a  glass
over a  cricket. Bristly  legs  bow into
trill and trill,  not song but broken bits
of it.  Look,  this ugly,  this fine  form
is   nothing   I've   ever   seen   before.