Ace Boggess – Two Poems
The West Virginia Symphony
performs its free concert on the other side of the Kanawha River.
Grace & I sit on sharp stone stairs along the bank.
Beside us her pug, looking like newsprint smudges
staining an oblong rock, snuffles &
nibbles at blades of grass, wildflowers
so bland no one not a specialist could name them.
Grace tugs a leash tenderly & whispers, No
(the dog obeys for minutes at a time). Meanwhile,
performers have launched into the theme from Phantom of the Opera.
Notes dance across glittery water as if what sound light makes—
yellow & brown for now, but soon to be evening orange.
White noise disturbs the movement: mean Grrr
of a cabin cruiser’s outboard & the boat-driver’s angry rants.
She curses at someone invisible,
shouts, They don’t have to live with you! &
You’ve got a lot of growing up to do!
before carving a wobbly path away from us,
heading down river into someone else’s problem.
Silver dress in a dark room,
bodiless beneath its shimmering.
The dance won’t cease:
hour after hour dampening
severed necks of cut grass,
concrete steps leading from the patio,
the newspaper in its flimsy
bathing suit—plastic, indecent.
How I wanted this, & want it
to end like a miracle
having gone on too long,
humbling the sacred at first &
Ace Boggess is author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.