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




TWO WORKS
BY ROBERT EDWARD LEVIN

THE SANGUINE LIGHT OF NOVEMBER

The sanguine light over Puget Sound rises
to undress the restless soul of November,
while I open my front door, a shadow
still grazing on the dust of midnight dreams,
and slip into the day unnoticed. The street is long,
narrow, a cobblestone place-setting for the stir of
nomadic echoes, and I am, at once, a child again;
flush with anticipation, daunted by uncertainty,
I walk as I have always walked, white-laced,
empty-handed; this steel gray dawn hanging
by the tattered threads of windswept clouds.

Along the waterfront the face of afternoon
drifts quietly, its eyes marking the path
its body will soon reach; so I sit, hungry for its
promise to land upon my shoulders, and wait;
content to remain in the sobering embrace of an
indifferent breeze, while slivers of blue glass
break over my fingers, and rigid, ocher sands,
whisper and moan under my shifting weight;
standing, withdrawing, only when the mountains,
perched high and leaning, are lost behind
shrouds of salted mist.

Dusk seeps in from every corner, the resin of its
pallid fingers drawing dark curtains around the
shoulders of tall, pale-faced buildings. Streetlights
blink to life, harried voices, shuffling feet, skip
across the pavement, beleaguered tokens of another day,
and I move effortlessly, until the clarity of night
pending is stained by the rueful smile of a friendship
that could have been, a friendship that will never be,
and I am, at once, a child again; flush with
anticipation, daunted by uncertainty, I nod,
then wander off, a friend unto myself.

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SULLIED PANES AND MARIPOSA LILIES

The cool ease of morning, a plume
tickling the skin of night's heated
belly, sits upon my window;
summer's weighted breath clinging
to the face of sullied panes.

I lean on the sill to this obscurity, the
mariposa lilies from my wife's tainted
hands, but feigned appendages of another
day, and my daughter's swing, my lord,
it hangs as a single vine, lifeless, still.

The silence in this forsaken house grows
thick, deep, the laughing embrace of
its callused walls sending me into
the night, where, under the canopy of
soiled skies, I cannot escape.