Listen

By Eric Schwerer

Featured Image: Sunset, Oxford by George Elbert Burr 1899

Here every evening a woman

strides into her backyard calling

her rabbit which raises an ear when she sings:

Peppermint’s eyes’re red, His fur’s so white, Oh

where’s Peppermint gone tonight? When she sees him

she relaxes and lingers in twilight

as fireflies make brief green slashes

and the blacktop ticks with the heat

it’s digested all day. Then in her grass

while the light collapses I watch her daydream

a portion of the dusk away. I mean

I imagine she daydreams as through my screen

I watch her stride about shoeless, her rabbit

nibbling the lawn going gray. In a clean blouse,

fresh from a shower, with night coming on,

she might think of marriage. The lace

curtains in the windows of her house

are drawn. In my own still air and losing light

I stare at her, her curtains, her rabbit’s white hair.

Downstairs at the sink in my darkening kitchen

  a glass of iced water is crying a ring—

Has he hopped the gate?

Left me again? Peppermint please

She continues to sing, though it’s not

wandered and would not ever leave.


Eric Schwerer’s books include Cruel Folklore and The Saint of Withdrawal. He is an Associate Professor in the Program in Creative and Professional Writing for the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Their website can be reached at ericschwerer.com.

Originally published in NOR Spring 2010.

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