Today's poem is by Julianne Buchsbaum

Variations on a Theme Beginning With Darkness

Darkness begins with the wrong
information, begins with flies
from carnage in the tar-patched road,
halters, neon diners, cowboy bars,

the river wrapped like a scarf
around the city's neck. At Lucky's
or the Red Horse Tavern, darkness
begins with what's worse is. . .

At Lucky's, a horse starts from
the doorway in which you make
a mistake, darkness starts with
imprecations, a glitter of cops,

thunderstorms. A mistake in inventory
becomes the darkness in which
you confess to wearing a scarlet
dress at the dark end of a bar.

The asphalt darkness of the road
to Lucky's cannot be overstated.
The cracked tar starts from nascent
mistakes in the paving. Darkness

starts from the ghost of a neon
sign where halter and horse are
polluted. Let darkness be imbrued
. In the lobby to which we repair. . .

A lifelong study of the luster of flags
was Lucky's chivalrous enterprise.
The etiology of darkness is
nobody's home. The darkness

of money begins with skill
and ends in douceur. Darkness begins
with a bible and ends with a bribe.
Darkness, like boats on the ocean.

Copyright © 2005 Julianne Buchsbaum All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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