Meteor Shower Canvas black the eternal oil spill galactic dark matter speckled waves of crystal diamond sky ruby, emerald, sapphire lightspeed silent night bright terminal velocity eyes focus straining in the dark time as seconds, minutes, eons stretch galaxies into small hands that even rain cannot feel for in feeling we begin to fall headlong into night riding the meteors of our past knowing the showers of our future will smother those small hands someday not even the rain has such small hands Smokestacks of oak, hickory and birch lurch in the balance of sleet and snow on a confused Sunday in early May as my woods fill up with snow. It’s a snowy evening tucked away on this Highland Park cul de sac hugging Lake Michigan’s shore as the gales of this Spring day recall the final waves sweeping over the bow of the Edmund Fitzgerald on a cold November gale long ago. Having weathered many storms we walk… wandering down Sheridan Road as this knowing snow envelops us clinging to that other walk taken a lifetime ago. We were frozen stumbling and bumbling your hand on my thigh my leg on yours holding tight as we hurled down that hillside on a rustic red slide not knowing we would have this moment to savor for so many walks to come before full time work and grad school one, two, then three bundles of infinite intensity. Birthdays, graduations, proms and that first house we called home, rearing three daughters tornados of emotion… and then from the chaos came the calm as I cupped my calloused palm on a tiny granddaughter’s hand not even the rain has such small hands. 1944 Venomous clouds slit azure veins putrid eyes sliced wide jelly spittle apologize shrieking into a hollow socket wretchedly lacerated plasma pulses sifted like sledge fusing fractional abstraction a girl not on the list frozen to a dirt floor hemorrhaging not going gentle as razor snow penetrates the lone whistle on this lurid train into the heart of darkness kill them all… comfortably numb I graze on mottled cattle lost in a labyrinth of longing for the velvet silence that envelops your pancreatic eyes piercing steel, cold, harsh, brutal like the memories of veal calves clipped to hooks in the cooler, yet gaze I must since I trust the musky stench of you is all that balances this carefully carved moment eye to eye knee to knee breath to breath how you suffocate me Autumn Impales Itself In a crimson distance leaves explode not like dreams deferred but like nightmares frozen in dream space the eternal silence whispering from caustic cancerous corners jagged shards of flesh linger blistered, bloated organ confetti. Errant confused winds gather in discord wavering in their vacuous intent like lords of flies, hovering, sweating, waiting for the kill, lost boys are the best boys. Toil, boil and troubles linger as the witches walk on by hearing it on the grapevine, their sinuous spells snarl septic minds blank with the boiled brains of field mice. Swirling, the swirl of a Tilt-A-Whirl deep in the memory of Roscoe Street: Catalpas grand in a sticky reality of leaves Sugar Maples bleeding crimson crowns And rivers of birch white with hope hope that winter weight will not win. Canvas of light, a lone sun resumes its warmth content in the cerulean blue spot it owns in the universe as it shines on like a crazy diamond.
Mark Hammerschick‘s poem ‘solarity’ recently won third prize in the 2020 Highland Park Poetry Challenge. He has been writing fiction and poetry for over 30 years and has been published sporadically during that time. He holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a BS and MBA. He is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area and currently lives on the north shore, most of his professional career has been focused on digital strategy and online consulting as a digital architect and transformation strategist.
This is his first feature in The Fictional Café.