the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Holly R. Appling


Winter careful with the words,
Snow-covered ever-greens look guilty,

Darkness amplifies sound, down
There are footprints — they ring, ring —

Someone swings a weapon,
His step heavy in the panorama.

Snowdrifts roll over coral — with years of frost
Time-lapse the sea stopped.

A felicitous painter swims
Past as a fish after that specific red,

The color a spell cast —
Forefathers sing into a thin here-

After, never again to be aqua,
Gallery talking of spring and martyrdom, will it come?

Northern Celestials are poignant —
The sky calligraphy eloquent,

Each star an other-world,
So the child understands this.

But the emperor misses it—
Lost in ritual, tempest and charm.

His amethyst is antagonistic
Like a syringe singe of boysenberry

Into apricot and magenta —
The swell infuriating, a Venus

Set to inferno —but do not forget—
There is an obligation among the flame

A willingness to forget pain.
The fire's iris refracts a fine blade,

The belle of a ball enters.
This story needs an authentic princess,

A damsel street gangs can
Taunt and tie up and gawk over —

Her screams are mute in their dreams,
But all hear the North Star —

Its silhouette optic perfects Apollo,
Drifts in bliss against an ebon eclipse,

The looking-glass bursts into blue —
Galvanic ash violet and electric,

Blur specific, a sprite's blush — fragile too,
Some say ethereal, like memory or afterbirth —

Day and night become more a contusion.
Illuminated is the beauty, the illusion —

The footprint polarized — Brahma,
Allah, The Father distilled from stone.

A street-walker might be killed
For such a thought, if not bought —

Her guardian angel waits
Near the sewer drain — in swift radiation,

The stalker's face marbles with the egress of darkness,
There is no better verb for it.

Yet, it is ecclesiastic — it is art —
The canvas a mind's relentless

Fissure, beetle bristles fast
And ticking. They attack until surface emeralds merge,

A heart sets its original zen root
And the hue of a young moon bevels loops of plump lilacs.

Just like that — a gracious hand by her cheek
As if at New Year's, midnight's

Star-burst palpable with anaesthesia —
In the pitch of landscape, a giant snow-cat walks.

She is breathless and loveuck
When the aurora shatter —

Blackness floods the rifle scope.
Its thin cross dims — somewhere, a seashell is held to an ear.



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