Muriel Nelson

A Mutter to Self

It’s that time when vine maples can’t tell if they’re red or green,
when your daylights match the sunset,
and you pace like a pigeon dropping blobs from your whiteout pen.

So much for the art of erasure.
Whites glow. But rubbing creates, you mutter, or creature
clutter or heat or mistakes or

whatever delays the cadence, said the music professor (now
dead). Linger. The moon
gets its C backwards and climbs like a slug up your window.

Students claim they tell time in
minuets. A leaf twirls. Hold on. The old maids
you threw to the jays are gone.

And you? Dark as the saw-toothed skyline. The sun,
that goner, blesses a tacky
web and its catch. What about you when you’re done?

Your old dog’s head’s in your lap,
her eyes full of fading, her mind on a walk. Gulls crowd
the top of a flickering street lamp.

Maybe that’s you in the future, your ‘little light’ crowned
by birds. At least you could warm leaves
and keep them from falling. A season behind. And above ground.

Muriel Nelson’s poetry collections are Part Song, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Book Prize (Bear Star Press), and Most Wanted, winner of the ByLine Chapbook Award (ByLine Press). Nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Beloit Poetry Journal, Four Way Review, Hunger Mountain, The Massachusetts Review, National Poetry Review, The New Republic, Northwest Review, Ploughshares, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, and others. She lives near Seattle, Washington.


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