May 6, 2009
by Calder Lowe
Rising above the steady snore
of the purifier, a train whistle
from the nearby tracks scoops away
two metallic llamas and a solitary
wooden elephant plodding along the tops
of the bookshelves. In their absence,
camels from a caravan in a painting,
stumble, lose their footing in the sand.
The cats paw at their reflections in the window.
Time is restructured in that instant
of misdirected sound. Count back
one, two, three centuries.
Train whistles, bugles, church bells
thread through clouds.
My ancestors blow glass
in the Black Forest of Germany,
carry Lafayette off the battlefield,
make an error in judgement about
a new boarder from the coal mine.
Glass glows in the Von Eberhardt furnaces.
Some of the goblets flower, some crack.
A Polish soldier reloads his musket,
and in hard times, a distracted divorcee
ignores an infant daughter dying in her cradle,
gives her son away to an orphanage
tucked behind the spire of a Presbyterian Church
in Pennsylvanian woods.