8 September 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 3

Nocturne: Last Words

Smoke from the pipe of our lungs, unreaching, shifting molecules

           to air and back

to smoke, will leave us, in the midst of this city, quietly to drown

           among our past—

suicide gun blasts through walls, our waiting and heart-stopped nerves

           then quickening,

then beginning their stretch like wind-swept ash, gray spores floating

           until they're trapped

within the bricks. I've waited too long to call the police or 911,

           and yes, always

some regret remains. There was the chorus of cop cars before my own

           slowed to a red light

before a speeding SUV would've ripped off my head, cleanly, leaving it

           to stare back

at my body in some other dimension with awe, ghostly wonder.

           And voyeured

park-bench homicides: they seemed to follow me. I felt the blood

           and thought how

I loved you even more, hoped if you were a block behind me

           you'd soon stain

your hair with it, chalk-mark my body red instead of white, so rain

           could wash it off,

pool it into sidewalks—where we'll be after conflagration and a sky

           lit to the first stroke

of dawn, not rosy-fingered, but the blue flash before the body burns,

           before the skin turns

to bone, when we'll never know how or who we loved before.

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About the author:

Keith Montesano's first book, Ghost Lights, a finalist for the 2008 Orphic Prize, will be published by Dream Horse Press in 2010. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, American Literary Review, Third Coast, Ninth Letter, Crab Orchard Review, Another Chicago Magazine, River Styx, Hunger Mountain, and elsewhere. He is currently a PhD Candidate in English at Binghamton University.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Keith Montesano at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 3, where "Nocturne: Last Words" ran on September 8, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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