From a square plot of clothesline, white sheets hang like walls of limestone. Soaked in moonlight the sheets glow like the peeled skin of a luminous onion, pinned to the lines by some mad vesper. Yet the steam that rises carry the scents of a sleeping city: of jasmine, burnt pork, pollen, diesel. Behind the sheets a shadow paces the four corners. A woman trapped in well. She tests the walls with the tips of her fingers. Light pours from the sheets, splashing first about her ankles, then rising to her knees, the well flooding with the opal waters of moon to her open mouth. It lights up her skull like a paper lamp. The moonlight swells in currents, shudders below her, tucks in and crashes over her, pulls her down and pools in her lungs. As she struggles, the four sheets that wall her in simply ripple and flutter. What if I told you that with a snap of two fingers upon the head of a clothespin, I did save her? That the water that poured onto the ground spun the soil into brooks of rusted sea foam? What if I told you that no gasping shadow, no sunken woman washed to my feet, but a nightgown soaked in moonlight?
Michael Luis Dauro was born in Long Island, New York. He received his M.F.A. from Indiana University and continues to live in Bloomington where he works, writes and tutors at an after-school program. This selection is taken from his epic poem, Sierra Amnezia. His work has appeared in At Length, Poets Weave, La Fovea, and is forthcoming in Toe Good Poetry. He is a Ten Club member and a CantoMundo fellow.
“First reported in the aftermath of the Great Easter Flood of 1913, many Indiana residents have reported sightings of mysterious cloud taxis, fleets of phantom gondolas, that row across the skies of our once-sunken towns. On the anniversary of this devastating flood, these invisible gondoliers hold races in the moonlit sky-ways. I would want to see these races, their banners, their faces as they sing their vernal hymns.”
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