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 appeared in NOR 7

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