Today's poem is by Deborah Burnham


I love your hands when we talk baseball, how
they move like the thoughtful jazz that holds us
close to sleep. Like jazz, baseball rushes,
pauses to think about itself, then takes off again.
We laugh sometimes, like John Donne grinning

at his lover, their eyebeams twisted
to a double string, so connected they could see
inside each other's thoughts, like the pitcher
and his catcher trading signals, like the pianist
and bass who feel each other's syncopated

heartbeats. Art Tatum was too blind to see
his partners, or his fingers as they struck
a thousand notes a minute, sound cascading
into incandescence.
                            He'd hear the Tigers
on the radio, then recite the play-

by-play while driving home at 3 a.m.
after four long sets, arpeggios still rippling
through his ears,
                            and yes, you tell me,
he was driving, that blind genius cruising
a huge Buick through the empty streets, talking

But the dog of loss snarled, snapped his leash
and ran through Central Park, tail like an eager
spear pointed at our eyes. He could not
spin around. The world spun as it had to
and what happened

had to. The sidewalk blinked: blood in the eye.
What will we be singing in a year,
breathing on our frozen gloves?

Any song can heal.

Copyright © 2008 Deborah Burnham All rights reserved
from Still
Seven Kitchens Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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