Jean L. Kreiling

The Flutist Delivers

for Susan L.

A length of artificial throat
holds only dormant dreams of tone
until she gives birth to a note
by breathing into silver bone.
Her whispers live in sounds that float
like silk, or stand their ground like stone.
They weep, or worship the sublime,
or leap through jigs in six-eight time.

And all the tunes she plays begin
in blood that hums along her veins,
in cool cerebrum, in warm skin,
in lungs that patient practice trains.
She guards no virtue, hides no sin;
she exhales self, and so sustains
the newborn notes along their route
from singing heart to ringing flute.

On Anna Maria Island

(off the Gulf coast of Florida)

Unhurried currents courteously nudge
these tiny waves, six inches tall at most,
which fall so tenderly they barely budge
a grain of sand along this coddled coast.
At water's edge, gulls pensively assess
conditions for today's flight to St. Pete
or Longboat Key, while ripples of finesse
and froth slide in to gently wash their feet.
Unlike Atlantic waves that surge and crash,
these miniature models, built to scale,
raise water but no threat; they curl and splash
discreetly, perfect in petite detail.
Stand with the gulls, and soak in what you see:
Gulf-given gifts of poise and subtlety.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

(Boston, Massachusetts, 2006)

We'd known each other's names for decades; soon
we'd probably begin forgetting them.
But meanwhile, our accustomed stratagem
for staying young led us one afternoon
to Boston's Beacon Street, and a saloon
immortalized on NBC as "Cheers,"
now luring tourists with expensive beers
and t-shirts. We believed the show's theme tune:

the one about ignoring worries, taking
a break with buddies, where life's worst offenses
can't get to you, can't even make you flinch.
Because all troubles are the same, and slaking
your deepest thirsts brings you to your best senses,
we raised our glasses at the Bull and Finch.


Jean L. Kreiling's poetry has been published widely in print and on-line journals, and her interdisciplinary essays on music and poetry have appeared in several academic journals. She is the winner of the 2011 Able Muse Write Prize for poetry, and has been a finalist for the Dogwood Poetry Prize, the Frost Farm Prize, and the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Earlier work in Mezzo Cammin: 2011.1, 2010.2, 2010.1.


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> A panel on The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline has been accepted at this year's Southern Women Writers Conference.
Rhea Nowak: I am always intrigued by the relationships between clarity and chaos, rhythm and awkwardness, mark and intention, presence and absence.
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