Combo Lock

There was a story I was supposed to tell 
about you,

About the candor of your fingertips,
their dampness on my skin, like vapor.

Instead, I walk outside – pigeons coo
in chorus from a hymnal of trash,

Rats run touchdown plays
heading into the season finals,

The grass is panicked, white faced, chalky,
at the approach of winter,

Trees gasp for oxygen
as their leaves dry up and drop away.

What did you open when you tampered
with the locks, thumbing the dial, listening

With your ear on my chest
tumblers falling in place one by one?

Why did flocks of birds fly from me
heading south, leaving me without their voice?

Gusts whip cold off the river, I am wordless,
a windsock gag in my mouth.

You are thief, lover, explorer.
Dr. Livingstone, I presume?

For Shay’s Word Garden & The Sunday Muse

32 thoughts on “Combo Lock

  1. Every time I read this, tears well up over how good you are.

    These lines are particularly original and literally breathtaking:

    “the candor of your fingertips,
    their dampness on my skin, like vapor”

    “The grass is panicked”

    “What did you open when you tampered
    with the locks, thumbing the dial, listening

    With your ear on my chest”

    I love how this seems overwhelmingly romantic until the last line, when I then wonder if it could be about a spiritual break-in — God finding a way into your heart, perhaps through another person.

    There are many possible readings here, only one being that you are onstage, intending to give your testimony, but find yourself unable to speak.

    I also like considering that the speaker may be Africa … or a patient recieving medical treatment. A colonoscopy, perhaps. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this: the conversational tone, the ear on the chest and the “what did you open”, and, especially “Gusts whip cold off the river.” Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Erm… wouldn’t trees gasp for Co2?

    I love the notion of someone listening for those tumblers while resting their head, even if the end result here is ambiguous at best, chilling at worse. And of course, I loved that ending. Seems like I heard it somewhere recently! Well played.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, damnit! I was super hoping to sluff off that O2/CO2 bit, but I knew someone might pick up on it. Hey, you know, poetic license – one tree’s CO2 might be another man’s oxygen, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another fantastic poem, Randall, which reminds me what a wonderful gift poetry is in gifted hands like yours. If you were a French troubador you would have the ladies at your feet, but as it is, the persona is at the lady’s feet, the one who like a thief has stolen his heart from its high-security vault and trashed it. All the imagery – shaded with bitterness and loss – still tingles with humor. He’s a survivor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulously written…”Why did flocks of birds fly from me heading south, leaving me without their voice?” You have given a brilliant voice to nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Seems like the lover has opened eyes to the realities of the world… What was lost has been found… or perhaps seen for the first time? I am probably way off! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This whole poem is incredible, qbit. It conveys the ‘gasp, shock’ of the season in all the images you give us with the grass and the trees, just wonderfully. Love these lines especially:

    “Rats run touchdown plays
    heading into the season finals, – fantastic image!

    The grass is panicked, white faced, chalky,
    at the approach of winter, ”

    “What did you open when you tampered
    with the locks, thumbing the dial, listening

    With your ear on my chest
    tumblers falling in place one by one?” – these two couplets are so innocently revealing and romantic, like someone has unwittingly fallen in love against their will and didn’t intend to and is now vulnerable because of it. Really beautiful, qbit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A poem of locks and hands that is unlocking something deeper than what is on the surface. I think this poem is like a magnificent movie that has something for everyone except the trees want something more than what you gave them to yearn for. LOL You could never be wordless my friend, you are too wordful extraordinaire! Always delighted to see you at the Muse Qbit!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Rats run touchdown plays
    heading into the season finals,

    The grass is panicked, white faced, chalky,
    at the approach of winter,

    Trees gasp for oxygen
    as their leaves dry up and drop away. ”

    This is one clever imagination at work, q!

    Liked by 1 person

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