Fall 2011, Volume 11

Poetry by Liz Henry

 Horn Ghost

Although the building is empty
chairs are up on the tables' bone rib
and the dust waits for dance feet
to sweep it clean.

Packed up & gone ghosts.
   The horn ghost
   the car alarm

Once there was a fire
and clarinet and trumpet
and poets to put it out.
Hands nipped the string stalks
to feel the fat wheat
ready for harvest.
The saxophone torch.
Tongues grew delicate on the vine
tendrils into the marsh reed pipe fingers
while the air let the embers sit soft
    in the deep strings
    in the grate
    in the star furnace
    in this radiator right here

The windows were useless
for dreams
but now only dreams
come out from the wish smoke
& the people laughing in the loading zone
& the empty glass
& night sky
& toothpicks
left planted in this city gone to seed
and dreams are the only thing left

If you stand on the pavement
long enough
and look in the windows
at the reflections of headlights,
the night goose
will ghost its flock
over the vacant lot next door
& honk
& the car alarm
& distant fog of the train horn
on the way to the harbor
where scrap metal
is loaded onto conveyor belts
and gypsum comes back
where the cormorants have their yachts
and the echo of the honk
nests in the salt pond
where poison feeds music
with its boozed up dreams
Some things are impossible to have
because they are gone
in the mist of morning
but the demolition
is so slow
that waiting for it
is like hearing a bell
just before it rings




BIO: Liz Hentry is a poet and translator in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on a houseboat. she's the publisher and editor of Burn this Press.