The Conductor

Once syrupy sweet and welcome; now
out-of-tune and unexpected in its
bellow.  From near, from far, from everywhere
she calls, she stalls, she pleads, she leads all
forward, toward her backward, coarse course.
With what vengeance, disgust and striking force!
The anasarca, the ecchymoses,
the striae, the ocular loss, with a
twist of anesthesia for good measure.
Our Cyclops’ steroid face, porcupine head
will soon be dead, how heavy the sound of lead.
“Mama, mama.  Piano…piano, mama.”
The chafed lips that trembled not too long ago
bore this Rose; like a piece of still fruit
bleeding with each thorn – standing in silence,
unable to follow the final suite.

Theodote K. Pontikes, Class of 2005