“Stiletto,” “Redeeming Time” and “Successive”

Issue 37 by Ryan Krause

“Stiletto,” “Redeeming Time” and “Successive”

Stiletto

Stiletto drops like river

Runoff echo in the cave.

Once dawn’s cables bridge

The canyon, you, first

Diurnal venturer,

Step out to punish pavement;

A clacking beacon

Through the cavern fog.

Few can wake cave

Dwellers with heel strikes,

Yet shutters quiver

With your reprimand.

You call us to prayer,

Our Lady of the Cobblestone.

The morning metronome,

You spur ironic symphonies:

One infant wail,

An engine growl,

A lone dock door

Sliding up its chain.

With each strike a new

Intrusion on your march.

Your shoes near mute now,

I know the scuttling day

Must start. But please,

Pause for one more

Drag before you

Bury yourself in the tunnel.

Breathe smoke into that signal

Echo so it lingers.

Redeeming Time

Brushed with gold

From evening awning light,

Her lashes lift a paradox;

And behind a social scrim

Of softest mettle,

A joyous shadow dances.

Do you look with suspicion on the world?

The world is space tonight—

Black halo around the yellow globe

Of this patio—and her laughter

Absolves indifferent air.

Successive

When I return to cold,

Woolen hackles up,

Ample pockets plunged,

Exaggerated shoes

Abbreviating snow,

The leftovers of spent

Thanksgivings follow me.

Needs baked in yams

And wants served warm

With my bowl of soup

Impel me back to this house.

Your absence is the uninvited guest

This year, like Elijah actually

Showing up at Passover:

For years, we left the door open;

Your departure now

Arrived, we battle gravity.

Your adhesive smile

No longer the centripetal,

We substitute with squash.

Outside again, my boot soles

Rewind the pavement like tape.

Frosted grass and leaves,

The pestilent familiar,

Crunch under me.

These were your multitudes

More than mine. Yet you

Bequeath this bureaucracy

To me? Am I

Supposed to guard each step,

Dally mid-air over

Brittle death, lose balance,

Preserve their fragility,

And break my neck?

You were known to trip

Now and then, crush

A leaf in your stride.

Am I then to blame

When the brittle and worn,

So ensconced in ice,

Crack from my innocent misstep?

I check your watch:

About now,

Would you

Say we need to

Hurry back,

Tease me

We’re lost,

Challenge me

(“Lead us home!”)

Then feign incredulity

And holler praise

For your succeeding sidewalk voyager?

You had me balance before

On a log, but then

You held my hand. Now,

I have only outstretched arms.

About the Author

Ryan Krause

Ryan Krause is an associate professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.