Hair-thin steel slides beneath skin.
The music box ballerina poised on a needle.
I stand at the edge of myself.
Middle-aged. A turn of the crank.
The barrel rolls, silver notes sound.
The ocean rubs against stones.
Fingertips memorized the bumps.
Our real names are spoken in octaves.
A dancer, sealed in a dusty wooden chest.
I hear my song, but not who sings it.
Waves skip over and skip over.
A fine metal pulse beats to no music.
For a while you let me play the Magician.
You pass me your ticket. I unfold doves
from my fingers. I appear like a miracle
on the stage you’ve carved out of
air. I tell fairy tales. Forests
sprout up from the earth. This path
right here, I whisper, leads to the cabin
where you’ve always lived but didn’t
know it. This, I say, is your home.
A wood block with the premonition
of heat. Tablecloth, baked apples,
apron strings tied at my waist for you
to loosen. I unfold snow on the forest,
sheets onto the bed. I reach into
your shirt pocket and unfold
love letters, fanning them into
a succession of sunrises, steaming up
from the earth. Wake up, wake up.
Carolye E. Kuchta’s poetry has been published in Grain, PRISM, and sub-Terrain, and aired on The Poetry Show on KUSP, Santa Cruz, California. She has worked as a researcher, an editorial consultant, a university professor, an editor for Susila Dharma International, a scriptwriter for Borderless World Productions, and a freelance producer for CBC Radio’s North by Northwest. She is the editor of Breadwinner: The Life of Leo Poulos and a regular contributor for Parents Canada Magazine. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing and MA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.