“Runaway thought, I wanted to write it; instead, I write that it has run away” —Blaise Pascal

by Maxine Chernoff

Not the day for the false alarm,

the robin-breasted moment,

the double entendre in the mirror.

Nothing spells knowing as a sea of foam,

dress of tears or is it tears?

How can we know, given your worried

eyes and surrogacy of words, dwindling?

Go with your clothes tucked

in a sack, your jewels hidden in sand,

your stale loaf that once smelled of creation.

What hammers you into a shape

is blunt and uninformed.

Hit or miss, our course of hours,

planet carrying its load of stones and

tissues and small green notions.

Eyes closed to the view, you listen to

your thoughts spin lace. What you don’t see

evaporates with the next cold breeze,

the next harm, positioned to descend

when least expected. What we endure

is our story. Words, abjured, are

a forest floor, thick with patterns,

left for seasons to bury as the dead

we know so well their breath is

outline and cold witness.