Aubade with French Horn
by Mark Wagenaar

It blurts like a parrot in a house fire, this brass so tarnished it might have been struck alive & shaped out of the char of the parrot’s cage. Its shuddering tinnotes fade like a word swallowed, one you thought hidden for good. Now it calls from a window, & unlaces the morning to everything we’ve forgotten, loosens the knots that hold the petals of dahlias & blue phlox into freefall, the gardens fraught with confetti. Where is the wind that vanishes lovers into morning, & reels the notes back? The horn’s valves were lucky coins once, pried from the hands of sailors who will never surface, or plucked from the eyes of the quiet. Cast from hotel keys, how many lost nights glimmer upon its brass? A last place where old letters voice their promises. Listen to the sound of breath pushed through thirteen feet of dark coiled beneath gold ribs. The prints on the brass are left upon us.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 1.

Mark Wagenaar is the 2012 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize for ‘Voodoo Inverso.’ This year he has also won the Greg Grummer Poetry Award, the Gary Gildner Poetry Award, & the contests of Fugue, Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, & Oberon Poetry Magazine. He recently transferred from the University of Utah to the University of North Texas, where he is a doctoral candidate.

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