I’m sitting on the porch, glass of wine in hand,
watching my daughter balance on a chicken crate
in the middle of the road. Her eyes are closed.
She sings along with Billie Holiday singing about drinking
in alleys. She’s singing about not wanting to go home.
She’s singing about having nowhere to go but forward.
I’m looking at my daughter, who is ten years old,
already as wise as me, and I’m looking at the street
beyond her, at the path where she’ll walk home
from school, and I’m thinking about how much blood
has been spilled on this street since we’ve lived here,
how many spills have gone unseen, how much love
enters from beyond the margins, seeps under
walls into our yard, how much blood drips off
our roof and into our garden. I see it as clearly
as I see those who walk past our home, some drowning,
others safe from the river but not from themselves,
some smiling at my daughter, who transforms the crate into a stage.
Listen to a companion musical piece for “Dusk”, composed by Max Matzen
Ben Gunsberg’s poetry appears in Poetry Daily, DIAGRAM, and Mid-American Review, among other magazines. He is the author of the poetry collection Welcome, Dangerous Life and the chapbook Rhapsodies with Portraits. His writing has won awards from the University of Michigan Hopwood Center and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. He lives in Logan, Utah, and teaches English at Utah State University, where he directs the Graduate Specialization in Creative Writing and moonlights as the multi-medium editor for Sugar House Review.
Max Matzen teaches music at Utah State University and is an in-demand composer, and performer in jazz and classical idioms. His compositions have been performed throughout the USA, Europe and Japan. He is a member of the Emerald Brass Quintet and currently principal and section trumpet in the Utah Festival Opera.