the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




TWO WORKS
BY MARGARET JOHNSON

PATCHWORK DREAM

Santa Fe, just off 66
We stood for a moment watching them
Chafe and twist on sizzling concrete
So as not to be trapped alongside the road
Drying that way alone or set aflame, some
Careless cigarette on serpentine.

No different, Amarillo what we just left,
Luckless birds of prey low circling, or
Lingering at the Cross-eyed Chicken Bar
Where drinks are two dollars, love
Nearly the same, not counting
Room and rubber.

Down the road, a golden coin meets
Evening sky, bare butt babies
Toddle to top-ten tunes played on the
Radio and teens make it in the flat
Bed of a Chevy truck and hope
Against spotty luck.

Drenched in yellow porchlight, a
Grandmother needles the edge of a
Patchwork quilt and hums, while
You and I clasp fingers, just after.
Remnants is what you offer, in a
Take it or leave proposition.

No postcard picture of the
American dream, access to the
Other side so rugged. Your eyes
Not dead yet, and a patchwork
Dream seems perfect.

================

HARM

Bay windows, gossamer curtains
Sacrifice. He folds into the car and
Speeds away shedding blankets,
Booties, relics-there over the
Mantel piece, up the kitchen wall,
Down stairs and hallways
Leading to bedrooms, stored and
Stashed in boxes underneath beds

Nearly twenty years and then-
Faces conjured up, tokens of love
Discovered and secretly disposed of
Blood battles at the corner house just
Walking distance from a two-mile
Stretch of glorious beach, he traces
How her woman's place had come to
Kneeling.

She speculates past corners, facades,
Doors, his easy chair resistant to
Roundness, but relenting
Assesses harm that wasn't done
But might have been
Bundles moments into years
Unplugs the telephone
Curls up to heal.