What’s In A Name, From A Height
by Mark Parsons
In the town square below
community service ex–convicts with plumb hatchets, chisels and mallets
chip and whittle, carving features on a length of tree
stripped to blond and unseasoned meat.
Up the sides of buildings
lines of code get hopelessly mixed.
A fountain gushing in the middle of the square,
over granite rims
chlorinated water drizzles
into lower tiers.
The rippling surface of the water jerks and tugs at aqua blue
bottom upholstered with pennies that look black
and silver coins that wink in sunlight.
Like a man on parole, afraid of doing time,
I avoid saying the name of a woman, whose name
fits my mouth
like these earbuds
fit my ears,
fits like I don’t ever want to
remove the name by saying it and stop
the soundtrack to my solitude.
After Meditations, after Sun Ship
Coltrane played tenor sax
so well in his mind his listeners forgot
tenor saxophone is an instrument,
not an idea.
if you see me some night through the kitchen window,
wraithlike across the lawn, shriveled,
pale in motion activated lights you had installed after I left — don’t call the cops.
Remember the beauty
of the one conversation we had, that we had
over and over: the single exchange — and its clumsy translation to French — is the only thing that keeps me going.