V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





The composer whittles his quill, 
fills it with opera and writes me a note. 
"Sing it," he says, but even the river 

quivers at my timidity.  He sees the problem, 
coats the pen again, cups my chin, 
then inks my mouth into a perfect oval 

until my solo echoes from the hills 
on an opposite shore.  A river of voices 
floods me, reaches for a high note, pulls it down 

and pounds it smooth against the bottom 
stones, then lets it bubble up, heavier 
with the weight of water.  Soon, I'm orchestrating 

the chorus with a stolen baton; but I hold 
the low tones too long, enjoy their rumbling 
in my body, annoying the composer 

who blackens the oval closed 
with his laden quill.  I lick the sticky silence 
from my lips and taste where the music was.

© by Liz Tilton


Contributor's note
Next page
Table of contents
VPR home page