The Dream in the Marrow, the Flesh That We Are
by J.R. Kangas

Out of the smoke-blue dark
of the bar he comes to thank me
for the perfect book I’d picked
off the library shelf one evening
last month, how it had just what
he needed, the loom he wanted
to make. I’m so glad, and is he
a weaver then? Well no, for his
mother, his itch is for music
and he hopes at school to learn
that his fingers and tongue are
agile enough for what Mozart asks
the bassoon to handle. And I
had once played the clarinet,
I see fire in him, I see dreams
and earnestness, how he will
become his wish. As we chat
I see how his speaking hands
must compass the keys,
how the stream of his breath
through the silver bocal
turns surely into a lovely sound
as it does in my ear in this noisy
bar, his voice as warm as a chord
in Brahms, this friendly boy,
beautiful and friendly come
to pass the time. We trade words
for twenty minutes, rippling
smiles. And the ache when he
leaves is my own little ache,
but it gnaws like a worm
at the stem of a rose,
like gin on an empty stomach.

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.