At dark we rest in the humid silence.
A small plane meanders through
This porch facing the quiet road
is a sanctuary after-hours, when
the congregants have all gone home.
I can afford these hours in a life
of nowhere to be.
By now the well-worn cliches
are embers grown cold in
the search for originality.
Remembering the words of my father:
Do something, even if it’s wrong.
What if something means refilling my wine glass?
Or inhaling a chest-full of night air until
the ends of my fingers tingle?
I’ve done plenty of wrong,
but no one lives there anymore.
Nothing but empty houses, weeds
creeping through windows,
the faint echo of a barking dog.
and creating distance.
Was anything what it seemed?
Where it Ends
Cold metal in my mouth,
waiting for a decision,
Motel room in a badly-aged
part of Saginaw, where the future
passed without a second glance
and now I must hear the couple
in the next room make love
like animals wrestling
with sharp teeth and then sighs.
The years calculated produce
nothing but the sum of all
mis-steps and the lingering truth.
It was always headed in this direction,
like the time I tried to overdose
on acid while the full moon blazed
outside my bedroom window.
I woke with the morning sun, with
a sharp awareness that registered
neither disappointment nor relief
for a future that might be better
if only. If only what?
Stoned dreams of an empty
hallway, the silence holier than
the murmur of a thousand congregations.
Silence like an empty sanctuary at midnight.
Finger on the trigger, cold metal my final meal
as the wind stirs up dust in a near-empty parking lot
while I fall deeply into a swirling abyss
that could set the night on fire.
Bruce Gunther is a retired journalist and poet who lives in Michigan. He’s a graduate of Central Michigan University. His poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Modern Haiku, Arc Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, and The Dunes Review, among other publications.