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  Charles Musser is currently the co-editor of the online journal for the spoken word, Soundzine, and has had poems published in the British poetry journal Mimesis, and the L. A. Literary Journal, Andwerve.  

Fall 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 3

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews


Charles Musser


Return of the Dowser

He presses his ear against
the pebbled wall; hears nothing, turns
and rests his forehead, then moves away
down a path through flexing wind.

Your voice for the last time came
from this garden. A finch
of memory alights, watches
him pass.

He takes a rusty hoe, plants it as the witch
hazel nods. His brown skin sparkles
of sweat. He struggles
in weeds, curses. Here is the place
you asked him
Where will we live, you and I?

He kneels, beckons to shadows.
The bone-ache twists down,
yet the leaves tremble to stillness
as he casts his threadbare words.

Hidden among irises and lilies,
you’ve trickled away, sieved by stone.

It may be that you hear him
 and appear, called forth by a man
                     who loves you.


The Face

I stare in oriental eyes and flick the slivers
of glass one by one from her shattered face.
Her hands flutter around the edges, touch her dyed
hair, then drop like rocks. I wrap torn sheets

around her head, leave holes for eyes,
ears and mouth. A few crimson spots
leak through like pox. She leans to kiss
my hand, thinks twice,

then thanks me with five crumpled
twenty dollar bills. I paint her new visage
upon the cotton swaths with my eyes.
Already her back bows slightly to carry it.

I show her to the door that leads
to the underside of stones and watch
from a yellowed window; she wanders
away between strangers, a perfect jade beetle

with her wings pinched off
and a simulacrum of mirrors fading behind.


Charles Musser

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews


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