is an online magazine of the literary arts.

8 December 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 4

The Duet


A duet on the radio pleads to end

each day in song. If I had the choice,

my song would be quiet,

a little twang,

a trill when the voice hops up.

I'd sing a story you might know:

Two kids, a brother and a brother,

tossing baseballs over the roofs of passing cars.

There'd be love enough to have one boy

sing to the redhead

on the bottom branch of a maple,

and without knowing it

he'd hum the song all wrong.

A boy gone the way of other boys,

stealing silver from his sister's jewelry box.

There'd be a fight with elbows and words,

a boy watching a girl walk away.


There'd be a place to drive.

The boy there, in his pockets jingles

the night blind with moon.

The boy sings to a girl

even though his song sounds all wrong.

The song makes a street

she'd turn to for fifteen years

seem like a street she'd turned to in error.

To listen closer, she'd roll up the wind

in the window, tell him, drive the car in circles.

She wanted his song to touch her

the way a lip touches lip.

If she had the choice,

she'd want her song to be that quiet.

About the author:

Josh Rathkamp's first book of poems, Simple Impossibilities, wiil be published by Ausable Press in the fall of 2007. His work has recently been published or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Meridian, Passages North, Sycamore Review, Puerto Del Sol and others. He teaches at Arizona State University.



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