the gramophone of dusk

written for Shay’s Word Garden (Stephen Dunn) and NaGloWriMo Day #1 (from book cover entitled “A Floral Fantasy in An Old English Garden”)

I think of you still:
six floors up
in the perpetual
bland weather 
of hospitals

As though it were an office
our sense of you 
was paper — thin 
messages through
the pandemic's static, 
such light wrappings
for fear

behind hingeless
you couldn’t hear
when the gramophone 
of dusk set birds playing

and deep inside you
knots kept tightening


that silken night
I begged the moon 
to stay a little longer

and watch with me
the neighbour’s cat
in tall Egyptian splendour
on the wide stone wall

but sleep blew in,
a blizzard of dreams,
papier mache livers
between batting paws

and a woman
among roses
held open a wooden gate
and smiled as she left

22 thoughts on “the gramophone of dusk

  1. This is as “there” as the window frame but at the same time it is as ethereal as mist. I disagree about the second half not following; I thought it flowed nicely and was cohesive throughout. My favorite bits were the title line and the Egyptian cat. I like very much that you morphed from hospitals and pandemics to the other side of Mortality, the unknown, the mysterious, the gift at the core of something so awful in its physical process. Me, I’m not the least bit afraid of passing over, but I am scared of the physical dying.

    Okay, what is the “Glo” in NaGloWriMo? Neither Google nor your link wants to tell me.

    Thanks for being part of the List!


    Liked by 1 person

      1. The “Glo” is for Global. So can be either NAtionalPOetryWRIteMOnth, or GLObalPOetryWRIteMOnth. It sort of started out nationally, but now pretty much everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you ever watch The Lion King and you get to the part where the clouds part and the ghost of Mufasa appears and starts giving advice to Simba after which Rafiki, the sage old monkey, shouts out like a stoner from the 70s “Whoa! What was that??” Yeah, that’s how I feel when I read your poems. 💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I’ll have to watch The Lion King again. It’s literally decades since I saw it and the exact implication of Rafiki’s cry has slipped my mind. 😂. But I think I want to say thank you!


      1. You’re very welcome! We watch LK frequently with our 3-yr-old granddaughter so it’s fresh in my mind (unlike most things!). It’s a great movie and I’ve been waiting for the chance to describe that fun scene. Thanks for giving me the opportunity! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a wonderful piece. You’ve set the scene in the hospital so well. The perpetual bland weather, the windows that don’t open. Deep inside you / knots kept tightening. Even the office reference creates a distance between the narrator and patient. A cloud. Then the shift to the dreaminess of the silken night, tall Egyptian cat and blizzard of dreams. Wow. There’s such a contrast from the deep, quiet suffering to this vivid, surreal space and exit. Feels like a short film. Standing ovation.

    Liked by 1 person

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