Oct/Nov 2001 Poetry

A Curse for Modern Times

by Sharon Kourous

Art by Bob Dornborg


A Curse for Modern Times

May you wait for the second ringing of the phone
while sweat turns to ice, a sheen down your back,
a trickle between your breasts. It will be a lizard voice
dragging desert sand, debris of cacti, illimitable stars,
a voice which knows your most secret desires
and the color of your underwear. This voice you wait for
will spin across the wires like a derelict wind as you turn
between white sheets, a dry stick tossed aside
when the fire was stomped and kicked to dust.

May you wait in the still night for the second
muffled sound outside your window, the next creak
of the roofbeam, the attic pressing blackly down
above your room, headlights that rake your ceiling,
crunch of tires on the gravel of your drive;
the sullen announcement that a river was dragged
from the bridge to the reservoir, and nothing found.

As dawn slithers outside your foolish window
may you recognize your life for the Grade B movie
it has been, and just before the second ringing
of the phone, may your fingers fumble,
the remote forever slipping from your grasp.


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