The Music Inside

Christina Hutchins

This is the truck inside the truck, the plane

inside the airplane I drew early most afternoons,

a psychological puzzle handed over to my mother.

This is the poem inside the poem.

As early morning I stood high on a kitchen chair,

firm hands unbraided, brushed, & damp braided

my hair.  The barrette clasped tight, my mother rough-

pulled her comb through my brush.  I trotted

a cloud of childhair out to the yard,

laid it on the tips of the grass.  First rays arrested

among the flutes & stems, scent of a dark-water birth,

this is the dew inside the dew.

Late in the day polished boards streamed light

under a locked closet door.  Three quarters of an inch

& seeping through every luminescent leaf, lemonade

stand, white wicker & Kimberly-pink child nipple,

this is the child inside the child, cross-legged

below the brush of coat hems. Beside the bright stripe 

on the dark of the neighbor’s floor, silence was thickening

to song.  Released at suppertime, I jogged home

past crowds of juniper thorn & poison peas,

chest-high clappers of the bell that was my outstretched

arm, my round & rosined palm.  “Ring,” I said.

I sang, “wrangle, wrung.”

Amid the bell-towers a high wind rose & rang

the thousands, tongues all garrulous green.  Fists

of first drops, fragrant the breath of tarp

& tarmac, a hidden creek rattled.

A joyful dog barked the letters of foul words. 

A piebald horse took a weed-lined walk. 

A mower & a mower’s own path following it,

all of us grew damp & damper: 

The cantering horse.  The joyful dog. 

Bright the shorn.  Stubble.  The creek!

This is the drummed bottom of a blue plastic pool,

empty, upended.

Hairs, collected & abandoned, line the inner nests

of unknown birds.  I left the cage door open while I slept. 

Dank as an albatross & happy at the flute hotel,

I fastened the past with a loose clasp. 




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